Alden Baylor’s parents died in a car crash, leaving him their property, which is overseen by his Uncle until Alden comes of age, and a farm at the edge of town makes for a nice site for the high school teenagers to watch a meteor shower one night. 327 meteorites land around the world that night, an unheard of amount, one of them on the Baylor farm, and all of them have cracked open by the following morning. To begin with only Alden, however, meets an alien that emerges.

Jeff Parker and Sandy Jarrell instil a real sense of wonder about Meteor Men, channelling their own version of E.T. The alien that Alden connects with is relatively benign, but Parker has a good handle on how the federal authorities would act in a first contact situation, and heavy handed reactions escalate almost harmless situations. It’s humanity that acts as the predator, while the aliens are largely passive, reacting only if threatened. When this occurs they can respond with what to humans are amazing powers. There’s a secret behind that, though, cleverly introduced by Parker who keeps the tension high via the possible military over-reaction.

Jarrell’s loose realism gives the story a TV drama feel, with the aliens and what they can do the only intrusions into the world as many of us know it. He’s good with the rural locations, colourist Kevin Volo’s use of blue shades giving them a moonlight attraction, and Jarrell’s aliens work well. Two variations are necessary, and they’re both distinctive.

Whether by accident or design, Meteor Men is an extrapolation around what the arrival in the real world of an old Justice League enemy might be like. By the time it’s finished, some of our worst fears have been realised, but the clever touch is mixing that in with the wonderful and inexplicable, and suggesting there is more to life than petty human concerns. The ending comes as a genuine surprise, but is completely in keeping with earlier events, both hopeful and sad, which is an achievement in itself.