STRANGE NATION has been... well, strange, but in a completely good way. I mean, where else will you find an issue that opens up with a swarm of rioting Sasquatches and an alien enjoying a cup of tea? This book isn't just out there for the sake of being out there, though. All of these elements are connected and, in this issue, Norma Park finally receives all of the answers she's been searching for (and it'll give meaning to the series' opening scene, too).
Paul Allor's done a great job making all of this sci-fi craziness plenty of fun. The segment with the Sasquatches is a blast and the glimpse of Herb is priceless. Also, you just have to love how Merc's new look compliments his previous "Bond villain" remark. While there's certainly a lot that'll make you smile, Allor switches the formula a bit and hits us with a much more somber moment and it gives a proper sense of weight to the overall narrative. Seeing as this is the issue that pulls back the curtain and all that, there's a whole lot of exposition. But given the context and the way it's dished out, it makes sense for all of this information to be revealed at once. Because of this, it doesn't come off as an info-dump and is just as intriguing as the chaos going on with the Sasquatches.
Juan Romera's art is a solid fit for the book's vibe. Instead of aiming for realism, the pages have a far more animated and cartoonish look which is obviously perfect for this kind of story. This works especially well with all of the non-human characters and, for the humans, it makes their stronger expressions (shock, fear, etc.) amusing and lively. The coloring remains vibrant as well. That's pretty impressive since we get to view a handful of drastically different environments and some of the panels are absolutely loaded with characters.
The large panel with the UFOs feels a bit off. The explosions are surprisingly realistic and a good amount of detail went into the town, so to have these big ships with minimal detail made for an odd contrast.
The reveal is obviously huge, but it's a very familiar one. In a book overflowing with cleverness and originality, I was hoping for something a little more bizarre. Still, based on these 4 issues, I have faith it'll all be executed in an absorbing way and will likely throw more twists and turns at us.
Minor gripe, but I'm also left wondering about Merc, especially since he knows Duma didn't tell him the truth about Joe. I know he probably thinks he has nowhere else to go and I get he likely wants revenge after the rooftop incident, but being lied to about Joe should be a big deal for the guy. Hopefully there'll be more to the character's role other than serving as the company's muscle.
STRANGE NATION #4 hits us with a lot of exposition yet still manages to be wonderfully entertaining thanks to sharp writing and an absurdly wild action sequence. Now that the big plan has been revealed, it'll be very interesting to see where Allor takes us from here. Norma basically takes a backseat in this issue, but that's understandable since the first three issues were pretty much dedicated to getting to know her and showing us how driven she truly is.
If you're looking for a good dose of creativity, sci-fi and fun, then I strongly recommend checking out this series. Considering it's only $0.99 an issue and they're legitimately engaging and a good time, catching up should be very easy.