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  • Words: Jason Burns
  • Art: Joe Eisma
  • Inks: Joe Eisma
  • Colors: Dustin Evans
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Devil's Due Publishing
  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Aug 6, 2008

When you think of “aliens”, what sort of images enter your mind? Black monstrosities with acid blood that pop out of your chest? Various scantly clad, suspiciously human-looking ladies? Skrulls perhaps? Or maybe you're thinking of scrawny little grey men with big heads who bring us messages of peace. If the last one is the only image of significance to enter your mind, there's a good chance you're a UFO enthusiast and you'll probably dig Serpo .

The introduction quickly informs us that the story we're about to be told is based on real-life information that the United States government failed to keep secret. Apparently the Roswell crash did occur and humanity did make contact with an alien race, and then subsequently set up an exchange program with said aliens.

It's given that with this premise and the fact that people actually seem to believe this, one might be a bit critical as to the quality of the book, yet, Serpo is surprisingly entertaining. The story in itself is fairly well worked out and brought convincingly enough. Burns gives us our crew of twelve chosen Americans (obviously) who get on board of a flying saucer and get dumped in an alien society for ten years.

There is the initial alienation – pun somewhat intended – followed by conflict and, ultimately, resolution and mutual understanding. One criticism, purely based on the storytelling, is that perhaps it isn't quite compelling enough. For all the time we see these people in an alien society, we see very little characterisation, so it's hard to really feel for the characters. Added to that is the fact that the story suffers from some clichés.

That isn't the biggest mistake Serpo makes though. The biggest problem with the book is the actual aliens. They are, essentially, your UFO-enthusiast ideal grey: living in a perfectly communist and harmonious society, spiritual and completely pacifistic except when they have a dire need for self-defense, etc. They truly are the whole “we come in peace”-package.

One might find an alien conveniently human-like in appearance, living on a world that's conveniently habitable to humans with fauna and flora conveniently similar to earth-based species to be, dare we say, somewhat convenient. If that doesn't bother you, the “present day” setting might. A reporter finds a diary that tells the ‘true story’ and gets shot at by men in black because of it. “Gee,” the reporter tells himself, “this can't possibly be true, but it must be, otherwise why were these men trying to kill me?” There's a question for you, why were they? Because if they hadn't been there you would never have given it any credence. Surely even the CIA, FBI or whatever the agency in question is cannot in fact be quite this dull-witted?

It's clear that this book is by and for UFO enthusiasts. If you're into that sort of thing, by all means go ahead and buy this. If you think it's all a load of bollocks, you might want to reconsider.

The art is neither a maker nor a real breaker. The line art is by Joe Eisma is competent, even skilled. His hand is smooth and crisp, giving everything a well-polished feel. The colors by Dustin Evans could be a lot better though. They are pretty soft, in some cases bordering on bleak. This in itself isn't a bad thing, as it might even have suited the story were it not for the shading, or rather the lack thereof. Shading throughout the book is almost exclusively single-tone and very light. It does little to add any perceived depth to the characters and the environment, and the lack of intensity means it certainly fails to deliver a dramatic view where in many places it could have.

All in all, Serpo ’s main positive point is its niche appeal. But even if you fail to care completely about UFOs and government conspiracies, Burns and Eisma have still put together an enjoyable read.

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