by Warren Ellis,
Ken Meyer Jr.
(Avatar, 2002)

Alien abductions and cattle mutilations. You'd have thought, by now, that most of us would have heard all we wanted about such things. I mean, after all, The X-Files is over and done with. So, what could possibly possess me to even review a comic with such fare, much less speak well of it? Well, a good story, along with fantastic artwork would be an excellent start. The comic?

Atmospherics, a graphic novel by writer Warren Ellis and artist Ken Meyer Jr. Now, this is not your typical alien-abduction story. Thanks to Ellis, it actually manages to pose a decent mystery, keeping the reader guessing right to the end.

The main character, Bridget Rhinehart, goes from seemingly frazzled sole survivor of a slaughtered township to possible drug-abuser to possible murderer -- but which one is accurate?

The entire story takes place in an interrogation room, where Bridget is grilled by a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This shadowy figure questions, cajoles and intimidates her, as he seeks to arrive at the "truth" about what happened in the small town. The result makes for a real page-turner with a definite chill factor. The most creative part of the story, however, is the truth about the aliens.

What, you think I'm going to TELL you? You'll have to find out for yourself.

Meyer's artwork has a very realistic quality to it. And, though his work doesn't get showcased in the sense of vast setting changes, his talent for character expressions lends as much to the entertainment value of this story as Ellis's writing.

He is also one of those very accomplished black-and-white artists I enjoy so much; those who refuse to read comic material due to lack of color are punishing themselves when they pass up work like this.

Atmospherics is recommended for adults and older teens, due to some language and intense situations.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 31 January 2004

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