A mystery is afoot in Image Comics’ new series by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger (who we interviewed recently here). The problem with mysteries is sometimes you don’t want to see the truth, especially when it’s freak horror stuff. This series has something brooding underneath it, so let’s see if issue #2 reveals more of this scary beast. Is it good?
Southern Cross #2 (Image Comics)
Last issue was all about setting up the ship known as Southern Cross which is on its way to the moon of Titan. The protagonist is there to uncover why her sister died so mysteriously. The ship is rife with characters that aren’t telling the whole truth and the last frame of the last issue revealed there might be something spirit related that happened to her sister. Freaky.
Are those demonic symbols around the ship?
Becky Cloonan writes a pretty mean second issue with none of the dips in pace or your interest that’s all too common in second issues. Instead the content continues to deliver the creepy and the weird. Characters aren’t acting normal; our protagonist keeps being asked odd questions as if characters know something she doesn’t. When someone asks about your room and says, “It’s just that sometimes rooms don’t agree with folks…” you know something is up. There’s also some weirdness going on with the gravity and a “whum whum whum” sound keeps banging in our protagonists head. It all adds up to some freaky reading and the kind of horror that will keep you up at night. Well, at least if you’re on a spaceship.
And the fact is that you feel like you’re on the very ship in this series. Something about the slow burn of the mystery mixed with the odd acting of the characters around the protaganist make things feel really weird. Cloonan understands when to reveal something, which is incredibly hard to do when you know what is really happening, and never shows enough of her cards to completely exhaust your interest. Instead, you’re always wanting a little bit more and the cliffhanger definitely delivers in that category. It’s also fun to slowly figure out what is going on. We’re given just enough information to come to our own conclusions, but it’s still always mysterious.
Belanger’s art continues to impress with its ability to feel claustrophobic and spatially aware. The ship is very much a character in this book and you can tell Belanger is fitting that “character” in with interesting 2D side profile shots of hallways and interesting details in the walls of the ship.
His style uses a thick line that’s almost giving the characters a cel shaded feel, which of course makes things feel a tad cartoony. That’s fine though and doesn’t make it any more unreal as his detail with faces and well rendered bodies works well too. I think a lot can be said for an artist who can draw really good and realistic looking clothes too. Draping a costume is pretty hard, but you wouldn’t think so after looking at Belanger’s work.
Is It Good?
Tensions are ramping up in this incredibly brooding, well-rendered, spine tingling mystery.