Blue Book #1 is a bumpy start

Blue Book #1

I’m a bit of a sucker for “true stories” of alien contact and abductions. There’s a campiness about them that’s fun mixed with a “is it real or not” aspect. Blue Book #1 promises a “nonfiction comic book experience depicting true stories of UFO abductions with an eye to capturing the strange essence of those encounters.” And it’s start is intriguing but a bit of a letdown at the same time.

Written by James Tynion IV, Blue Book #1 follows the infamous Betty and Barney Hill abduction. In an “Unsolved Mysteries” sort of way, the comic first sets out to make it clear that Betty and Barney are two upstanding and outstanding individuals. These aren’t cranks or conspiracy theorists, they’re two very ordinary individuals with fantastic jobs. It lays out its case as to why we should believe their story. From there, it follows their journey home and an encounter with a strange object. It’s the setup… unfortunately it’s a bit slow and lacks tension to really make it stand out.

Part of that issue is the art from Michael Avon Oeming. While it’s good. There’s something that doesn’t quite click building up the eventual encounter. You don’t get a sense of worry from Betty or Barney. There’s lack of fear that it really might be something else that might really harm them. Overall, it’s two people driving that see something weird in the sky. And by the end of this particular chapter, the build up visually feels like it doesn’t surprise or hook you. Part of that is Oeming shows the object and shows it often. The reader knows what it is before they do so the “reveal” has already happened taking away the vital aspect for the story.

The backup story features Tynion with art by Klaus Janson. Aditya Bidikar provides lettering for both. It takes us to Coney Island and some of the oddities featured there and its history. It has a Ripley’s Believe it or Not aspect to it that slightly undermines the nonfiction aspect of the main story. It also has nothing to do with aliens but is just “True Weird”. While it’s entertaining in its weird history, it feels like it clashes a bit with the featured story. As part of “weird tales” anthology, it’d be great, but here, it feels a little out of place.

Blue Book #1 is an interesting start but doesn’t quite abduct me and take me away in the mothership. The main story’s rather abrupt ending is a bit jarring and the build up, while good, is a bit too slow to leave things where they’re at. This might be one that’s a bit more enjoyable when the you can read it all at once.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Michael Avon Oeming, Klaus Janson Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle