Meteor Men GN Review

Posted October 13, 2014 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written by: Jeff Parker

Art by: Sandy Jarrell and Kevin Volo

Publisher: ONI Press

I’ve been reading so many mediocre-to-bad comic books that I’m running out of ways to start reviews, so I guess I’ll just scratch “breaking the fourth wall” off my now-empty list and worry about the next bad comic book when it comes.

Meteor Men is young adult fiction but in comic book form. The story follows a high school boy named Alden through a strange alien invasion brought on by a meteor shower. I say strange, because this isn’t a War of the Worlds kind of invasion. The aliens are threatening, but in a passive way; they only attack when attacked. People are going missing, but there’s no global death going on. In fact, the aliens are more content to stay hidden and away from humans.

Because of this, the story keeps its focus to Alden, who’s actually a fairly well-made character. His parents are both dead, and this has caused him to grow up fast and turn into a realist. He’s not cynical, but he’s not brimming with hope either. He’s a hard worker and quite capable of fending for himself (in terms of living on his own, not through physical confrontation). In truth, I like him.

The problem is that, while Alden is a fairly interesting chap, nothing going on around him is; this is made doubly worse as alien invasions should be very, very interesting. Meteor Men feels like it’s covering the same well-worn ground as other more kid-friendly alien stories before it, only this time, the aliens take up much less page space than their human counterparts.

There’s enough here to make Meteor Men stand out, yet it just feels derivative.

We have creepy aliens that Alden becomes friends with much too easily and without any real sense of dread or surprise. We have an alien that takes a strange liking to Alden and becomes overprotective while not understanding the societal norms of Earth. We have an evil government that wants to shoot first and ask questions later. We have predictable twists and turns. We have a…oh look, now I’m bored.

When Alden firsts finds one of the meteor men, he very aptly runs away as the alien is screaming, “HUNGRY! CONSUME!” into his head. The scene starts off scary until seven or so pages later when Alden is giving the alien a BBQ sandwich. I had such high hopes for cannibalism, but no. Alden then lets the alien sleep in his barn because, hey, he’s let other travelers do that!

The above-mentioned scene is so disappointing because the first 20 pages introduce Alden so well. He feels realistic, but when the plot calls for him to act in a realistic fashion, he fails.

The middle of the comic book isn’t really worth talking about, so let’s skip to the ending. The ending is good. The ending brings up a scenario that kind of uplifting with implications that are kind of terrifying. The ending is what good science fiction is made of.

The ending should have been the start to the comic book, and the rest of Meteor Men should have been the following struggle. The philosophical ideas present within the last ten pages of Meteor Men feel wasted given what comes before it, but I’ve also been told that these same philosophical ideas are in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I guess in that sense, the ending is just as derivative as the rest of it.

Since this is a comic book, I guess need to talk about the art. It’s good. I really like the coloring here, which feels warm and expertly done. I love the designs of the meteor men; they creep me out pretty well. There are many shots of the sky, and all of them look beautiful. Sandy Jarrell and Kevin Volo did an excellent job here, and both deserve a tip of whatever hat you’re wearing.

On the whole, out of Meteor Men’s 135 page runetime, I’d say only 40 pages of it are any good and of those, only ten are actually interesting. The ruined potential of the ending hurts most of all.

About the Author

Chad Waller

Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company that just published The Land of Glass on Steam. You should check it out! You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.