Let’s Talk About This Deal (Port of Earth #3 Comic Review)

Hundreds of ESA agents swarm the local city searching for the rogue alien as Rice and Mac’s sweep team are sent to H20 Technologies in response to a possible detection of alien activity!

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Port of Earth #3
Story: Zack Kaplan
Art/Cover: Andrea Mutti
Publisher: Image/Top Cow Productions


What You Need to Know:
After a rogue alien escaped the port on the day of the meeting between The Consortium and the ESA, Rice and Mac broke protocol and pursued it into the nearby tunnels. Even though their every action was being recorded by the hovering drones above them, they went in after the alien. Within the tunnels, they both encountered the seemingly vicious creature who hurled Rice to the ground before making its escape into a community above the tunnels. Rice and Mac follow the screams of the civilians only to find the alien scaling down the cliff and running towards a small coastal city ahead of them. With Rice discovering his badge had gone missing, they both decide they are going to need some backup…


What You’ll Find Out:
The WNN interview with ESA Director Tom Rutgers continues, starting with the deal itself. In exchange for a port for alien spaceships, The Consortium solved Earth’s energy crisis. With the technology to turn water into energy, humanity now possesses unlimited energy. However, to many people, the water engine has created anxieties about the welfare of the people. The sudden shift to new energy has cost the planet greatly, resulting in business losses and record unemployment rates. The WNN interviewer explains that now Congress is handing out subsidies to outdated energy companies while those that were guaranteed exclusive rights to the water-energy technology are making obscene profits. With one out of four people experiencing unemployment themselves or of a family member, polls show that 73% of people now say the port’s presence isn’t a good idea. ESA Director Tom Rutgers has nothing to say to them…

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Meanwhile, hundreds of ESA agents swarm the small coastal town of El Granada, California in search of the rogue alien that escaped the port. As they spread throughout the city, shutting it down by asking citizens to stay at home and off the roads, Rice and Mac are interrogated by their superior about their encounter with the alien in the tunnels. They each explain that it may not have provoked them, but it did make physical contact to justify their actions. Their superior condemns their actions and assigns them to sweep team five in the north end of town.

As the sweep team makes their rounds, Rice and Mac’s discussion about their breaking protocol is cut short. Alien activity has been detected at the nearby H20 Technology factory and sweep team five is requested to respond. They arrive at the factory to meet up with a team already there, who notices the drones hovering above Rice and Mac, still recording their every action. Although they were just supposed to secure the area and wait for SWAT to arrive, Mac still believes they are supposed to protect people and demands to enter the facility to rescue those inside. Rice eventually agrees and they form a plan before splitting off and making their way into the factory.

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Once inside, they begin sweeping the area, searching for the alien and the citizens trapped inside. Rice and Mac begin a conversation that quickly heats up and highlights the differences between them. Rice is forced to tell Mac about the day he bashed his stepfather’s lungs in with a metal bat and killed him, saying he isn’t afraid to engage, but he knows the price of killing. Just then the team discovers the civilians inside the factory, and Rice is reunited with Emily. However, their reunion is short-lived when the radar detects alien activity nearby.

Quickly searching the area, the sweep team encounters the rogue alien standing at the end of a long hallway blocking their path, shrouded in darkness. Everyone seems confused as they stare down the alien, but Mac asks if anyone thinks the alien led them here on purpose…


What Just Happened?
Writer Zack Kaplan continues a thrilling story in the latest issue featuring remarkable world-building and compelling character development. Beginning with the interview from WNN and ESA Director Tom Rutgers, the narrative explores the impacts of the deal with The Consortium showing a society in overall decline while few prosper. The story shows that when faced with facts, their leadership is unable to respond. Port of Earth brilliantly delves into the implications of the influences on society by both organizations and individuals, drawing striking parallels with real-world issues we are experiencing today.

Rice and Mac finally receive the character development they needed to truly immerse readers in the story. As they sweep the factory for the rogue alien, the two engage in a heated conversation that ends with Rice giving a tragic backstory. Mac’s sometimes reckless “white knight” tendencies mixed with Rice’s knowledge of the price of killing is creating an intriguing duality in their narrative that is sure to captivate.

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The creative team including Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov once again deliver a beautiful issue with some of the best characters and backgrounds in the series so far. Though refraining from showing many alien species in this issue, the humans are done magnificently. Rice’s moment of deep reflection is made especially beautiful by the use of line work and heavy shadows. The series continues to use The Consortium database pages as well to elaborate on the world, this time using Ships/Consortium and Ships/Visitors pages to give readers a closer look and more information regarding the ships often seen throughout the series. Although the story slowed a bit in its pacing, the narratives and topics that are explored create a uniquely entertaining reading experience that is consistently delightful to look at.

The latest issue of Port of Earth, unfortunately, lacks the action found in previous issues, but it remains a gorgeous character driven story supported with expansive world building that is relevant to our own society.


Rating: 8.8/10

Final Thoughts: Port of Earth #3 continues a gripping story with compelling characters engaging in a fully realized and believable sci-fi world. Although the latest issue slows the pacing of the story, the parallels of our own society found within the narrative and the questions that come from them continue to make this series a must read!

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