I am a straight up and down sucker for old British science fiction movies. You know the sort, filled with quiet country villages, salt-of-the-Earth farmers and UNKNOWABLE DOOM FROM BEYOND THE STARS! (Cue the theremin). The various Quatermass es ( Quatermi ?), X The Unknown , everything John Wyndham wrote, the bits of Torchwood that weren’t awful, you name it I’m there.
Apparently I am no longer alone. Because It Came! Is a love letter to this exact sort of science fiction. The book opens on a star field and ponders the big questions of whether or not we’re alone.
In short order we’re introduced to a local farmer, his own cosmic musings and the answer to them, as a colossal space robot (From, I suspect, Beyond The Stars), crashes to Earth, wreaks havoc and then…
A quiet British country lane, two lovers on a country drive that looks suspiciously like it’s stationary against some back projection. Doctor Boy Brett, Space College genius and Doris, his love, are making their way through the countryside. Boy is brilliant, debonair, a sexist pig of the first order. Doris is kind, polite, increasingly annoyed by Boy’s spectacular idiocy. Together, they will discover the truth of what happened when…
(Cue the theremin)
This is joyous stuff to read. Boultwood’s art style is open, friendly and expressive and he cleverly casts the entire book in the sort of shades of grey that Peter Lorre frequently murdered people in. Combined with the clear love for the era, it really does make the book feel like a lost British Sci Fi classic. The broad stereotype characters only help matters, with Boy very much Bernard Quatermass’ lackadaisical heir and Doris equal parts sensible and long-suffering. Their interplay is huge fun, with Boutlwood throwing in jokes with the same abandon the robotic villain destroys the British countryside. This is quick fire, clever and most importantly funny stuff. Even better Boultwood never once lets the jokes get in the way of the plot.
What really impresses as the issue goes on is just how versatile Boultwood is. The script isn’t just light on its feet it’s also fiercely clever. The entire thing is presented as a British science fiction movie, complete with intermissions, adverts, fake IMDB pages for the two leads and an honest to God pull out poster in the middle. For a movie called My Reptilian Bride! Honestly, sort of want him to do that next…
His versatility isn’t restricted to the script either. The art is genuinely beautiful, Boultwood constantly shifting from close in panels to massive images with kinetic ease. One action sequence in particular, involving the weaponisation of a street fair is as close to perfect as you’ll see; equal parts absurd, exciting and funny. Boultwood has long been one of the best artists working in modern comics and this book shows him at his absolute best, both as an artist and a writer.
It Came! is the very best sort of parody, one brimming with knowledge, affection and gentle mocking of its subject matter. Crammed with jokes, action and stiff-upper lippedness, not to mention the best gigantic space robot you’ll see in comics this year, it’s an absolute must for anyone who enjoyed The World’s End , Torchwood , or running screaming from gigantic alien robots in the process of destroying their sleepy village home. An absolute joy.