Writer: Rich Douek
Art: Alex Cormack & Justin Birch
This week IDW released a horror comic. A naval horror comic. I was plenty excited to jump on a new mini-series such as Sea of Sorrows. Gold scavenging in the deep sea while meeting mysterious creatures? Sign me up!
The comic is set in 1926, right after the Great War ended. Immediately we’re presented to some crew members of the SS Vagabond, a ship hired by a former Naval Officer to dive into the ocean and find sunken ships loaded with tons of solid gold. At first we meet a man ill on the ship’s deck, being taunted by another crew member, which ends up starting a fight that could’ve gotten messy. Once reminded of their common interests, the comic leads us to the bottom of the sea where Nick Shoals, who is responsible for actually going down there and finding the gold repository. Nick, however, sees a mermaid for an instant, dismissing as visions from fine air in his helmet.
Rich Douek’s writing gets the job done. The pacing and character introduction are pretty well written. And he does manage to make the “different crews won’t kill each other for a common goal” feel fresh. Especially with the mentioned characters. They each have a clear personality and voice. Despite all that, I did miss a tad bit more of plot in this first issue. Albeit being a horror mystery story, maybe more of the characters’ motivations could’ve been shown to relate to the main focus (the supernatural elements). This all may be valid, but it may also be me just jumping my gun. I just felt it was weird for a mini-series, that’s all.
Cormack’s work is unbelievable! His colors are essential for establishing the environment for each scene. The facial expressions and postures help to enrich Douek’s characters immensely given each and everyone of them a singular presence in the panels they appear. What I loved the most, though, were the underwater scenes. Cormack knows just how much of the elements in the dark he should show transmitting the feeling of utter darkness one must feel when sunken so deep into the ocean.
Justin Birch does awesomely for the lettering. For most of the bubbles, we get the standard dialogue. But for Nick’s underwater dialogue bubbles, we get these little air bubbles which gave me the impression we were hearing him from outside of the helmet, and not as he is hearing himself, necessarily. I thought this was amazingly charming. I also liked the crew’s celebrations when the gold was found. Bold text forcing out of the speech bubbles, really giving the “Hooray”s and “Yeah”s a sort of momentum.
Although the plot didn’t hook me in just yet, I see incredible potential for a great turn down the line in the mini-series which should feel like a reward just as valuable as the gold the characters are seeking. The artwork is astonishing, to say the least, and I hope it continues to mesmerize.
Sea of Sorrows
Although the plot didn't hook me in just yet, I see incredible potential for a great turn down the line in the mini-series which should feel like a reward just as valuable as the gold the characters are seeking. The artwork is astonishing, to say the least and I hope it continues to mesmerize.