By Ben Boruff
As someone who believes that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an overhyped Hallmark card masquerading as a feature film that glorifies home invasion, I am hesitant to connect emotionally with any work that highlights the unlikely buddy-cop pairing of a small alien and a young human, but Sara Rising consistently elevates this scenario to new, socially relevant heights. The third issue of Sara Rising reveals more of Sara’s extended universe, a cosmos that includes a cleanliness-obsessed space-station matriarch and a tiny, fez-wearing gangster named Fez. One of the more intriguing scenes of this issue, however, features a diverse group of pro-tolerance devotees called Acolytes. A cultish version of an Abbott and Costello routine occurs when Sara quotes Stan Lee and the Acolytes subsequently name Marvel’s iconic writer as a prophet who preaches “a fundamental message of service and brotherhood towards all sentient beings.” This comedy of errors highlights a central moral of Sara Rising: simple, sci-fi storylines can offer profound social commentaries—and comic books frequently provide such narratives.
Writer Emilio Rodriguez juggles his characters well, peppering the comic with a pleasant blend of old and new faces. General Benjamin Ulysses Overr’s brief appearance in this issue provides an intriguing commentary on close-mindedness. Sara’s worldview continues to expand, but General Overr remains committed to tunnel-visioned, Earth-centric, anti-alien, xenophobic ideologies. Overr’s rhetoric—“It’s only a matter of time before we see more of them here”—is riddled with logical fallacies. The juxtaposition of Overr and Sara—both humans—presents a spectrum of acceptance: Overr represents the Trump-like, fear-filled, hate-driven approach to other cultures (the “they,” as Rudyard Kipling refers to them), and Sara represents the understanding, welcoming approach (with a dash of naïve curiosity). Bobarrak, Sara’s companion, is somewhere in the middle.
Sara Rising #3 continues Sara’s saga, and it does so with comedy and narrative finesse. The issue flows well, and Sara continues to provide an entertaining and curiosity-driven lens through which readers can explore Rodriguez’s rich universe. Sara is mesmerized by her new surroundings, and most readers will share her sense of wonder. With its witty humor, clever social commentary, BioWare-esque universe, polished artwork, and smooth pacing, Sara Rising is a must-read for sci-fi comic fans.
Sara Rising #3
Writer: Emilio Rodriguez
Artist: James Rodriguez
Publisher: Tres Calaveras Studios