Dark Horse Comics isn’t all that famous when it comes to offering titles concerning Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, but when they do, I’m all for it! Instead of titling it “Project” Blue Book, the simpler title is eye-catching not only in colour presentation but also narrative approach.
Here, creators James Tynion IV and Michael Avon Oeming give readers a look at a few well-known cases from UFO lore. The tale that kicks things off recounts the famous case of Betty and Barney Hill. They were the very first alien abductees, and recounting their narrative is the perfect choice! In later issues, we see how their lives have been affected. Betty can’t let the encounter go, and her inquiries set the tone for what’s still to come. Chapter three is the most telling, since the last one ended up in an abrupt note.
What makes this series unique is in how Oeming approaches illustrating each story. His choice of colours is not because of the book title, and I feel he’s adding a few symbolic references too. The colour can signify stability and reliability. But here, it’s about that serene space when abductees feel as if they’re sedated while getting probed. However, what’s felt later is more like yellow, for uncertainty, which hasn’t been used in the three issues offered so far.
I’m glad each comic offers two tales rather than just one. The side stories offer something different and here, at Coney Island, everyone finds a man flying the skies in some kind of mechanical suit. I’m guessing they saw a time traveller rather than the famous Mothman from Point Pleasant. Rereading this tale is highly recommended. I’m searching for online information about this event and still can’t find anything.
Thankfully, in issue #2, the story about the Green Children of Woolpit is better known. What’s offered does not differ from written accounts, and to have that visual take makes me wonder if they hail from the legend of the Green Man. There are not enough past studies to validate the case, but I surmise this tale is partially based on folklore.
To hear from Agnes about where she and her brother came from suggests they’re from a parallel world known as St. Martin. But wherever that world is, trying to find it doesn’t matter. That’s because nobody tried to investigate. Instead, what we have are Oeming’s ideas. Visually speaking, I noticed how he changes the colours–ranging from gin to sage–to show these children’s transformation to becoming human.
The text makes a strong case in explaining how this country moved away from paganism and became a Christian empire. And this allegorical addition feels appropriate to help readers believe that we will one day transform too. It’s not so much about the tech, but in who people are if they are to believe in the future, and what this mystery town represents.
As for the latest issue, the story about Tarrare is an unusual entry. He’s more of a genetic abnormality at best rather than alien. His constant hunger is still a subject for debate, but as for his involvement in, the tale presented here is more like a historical look into French history, and all that transpired during his lifetime (1772-1798). He was not only a side-show attraction but also a spy! Just why he has a story is just as much of a mystery as the other tales offered in Blue Book. Perhaps there’s an explanation planned to talk about why certain tales are looked up more than others, but that won’t come until this series wraps up!
Five issues are planned, and a trade paperback is listed for late August 2023 release (Amazon link) and so far, all the stories lives up to everything the United States Airforce would want to investigate, save but the aforementioned tale.
4 Stars out of 5