Groom Lake #1 (ADVANCE)


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Groom Lake #1 (ADVANCE)


  • Words: Chris Ryall
  • Art: Ben Templesmith
  • Inks: Ben Templesmith
  • Colors: Ben Templesmith
  • Story Title: As Above, So Below
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99

How best to describe this new series from IDW? Like an episode of The X-Files, but with a sense of humour. Yeah, that’ll do it.

This premiere issue of a four part mini-series from writer Chris Ryall and artist Ben Templesmith centres on alien abductions, UFOs, Area 51 and government cover ups – all that good stuff. Yet despite the standard subject matter it remains playful by approaching these much covered topics with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. It begins with that often parodied, but always amusing component of alien abduction myths – the dim witted hick.

Barnabus Bauer and his dog Scruffs are driving (well, Barnabus is driving, the dog’s a passenger) on the favourite visiting spot of all little green (or grey in this case) men – the country road at night. Good ol’ Barney sees some strange lights ahead, so leaves common sense behind and investigates. Then…you guessed it – the probing begins! You gotta feel sorry for Barnabus. He gets whisked away by some midget aliens and ends up (pun intended) laying face down and naked on a table. The aliens then begin with acupuncture, while Scruffs looks curiously on, and they work their way towards a most unfriendly probe, which resembles the floating torture device Vader used on Han Solo.

Bauer then wakes up in a hospital bed, facing the cold glare and harsh questions of Agent Leticia Pope, before being briefly re-united with his long lost son. However thanks to Barnabus' experiences, this isn't a typical family reunion. Barnabus' son, Karl then has his eyes rudely opened to the world around him and meets a short, bug-eyed alien called Archibald and a giant malfunctioning robot.

It soon becomes clear that Karl is in over his head ,especially when he learns that the government has been collecting assorted alien visitors as part of a top secret project.

Ryall and Templesmith work well together here. It’s great to see Templesmith work his magic with the sci-fi/comedy combo that Ryall has conjured. The characters are quickly defined and the art is simple, but filled with texture and muted colours.

It’s not exactly Men in Black, despite the surface similarities. With less aliens and high tech weapons (so far at least) and with a lot more gore and profanity, this is one book that isn’t afraid of having a good time. There are some genuinely amusing scenes in this issue, but I won’t spoil them for you. Let’s just say it’s funny and I hope it stays that way.

The last few pages show a genuine UFO sighting report, filled with spelling and grammatical errors. It’s a nice touch and sums up Groom Lake (named after the real base under its lakebed) well – approaching a subject matter that is serious to some and nonsense to others, while mixing in elements of both in an entertaining manner.

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