What turned out to be one of my favorite first issues of the year is hitting shelves this week with its follow-up issue. Gunn continues to pull us into this sci-fi horror world as a creature makes waves on the island’s beach (I’m too punny for my own good). So besides my jokes, is the issue good?
Surface Tension #2 (Titan Comics)
Things have gotten weird, really weird. The issue picks up with the mysterious sea creature storming the island’s beach seeking anomalies (humans) to eradicate. Gunn does an excellent job with the art for this creature, the same creature that you saw at the end of issue one. The image is haunting and the scenes where it is featured are the best panels of the issue, unfortunately after the opening it doesn’t appear much more.
The real change from issue one to two is that Gunn attempts to make this a personal piece between some of the characters. For a large part of the issue, Gunn focuses on Ryan and Shauna’s relationship before Ryan walked into the ocean (and became a member of the blue man group). Usually providing some insight into characters’ relationships would be a good thing for any comic, but what I loved about the first issue is how eerily dark the situation of the islanders was. The inclusion of this relationship history comes off as a bit cheesy and subtracts from the supernatural horror aspect.
The art is hit or miss throughout the issue. I love the colors utilized on every page and the sea sickened and creatures are done really well. However there’s nothing that kills the mood like a bad facial expression and this comic is chock full of them. I mentioned last review that the characters seemed overtly enthusiastic and Gunn has the same problems this issue. The shocked expressions with the mouths gaping open seem so unnatural and hokey that nothing can be taken seriously on the page. You’ll see what I mean, it feels like at least half the characters featured are aghast with their mouths wide open.
If you’re looking for a shallow horror story this certainly isn’t your comic. What issue two does bring to the table is some plot depth, an overwhelming amount of depth. Between the creature, the blue people, the aquatic visions, the coral, and the shell people, this series is getting more and more like Lost. I appreciate the thought that’s being applied to the storyline; there’s a lot going on, especially when it’s involving such abstract and strange concepts. Thankfully these issues are longer than most with thirty pages of story (and no Nick Lachey ads!) so Gunn is able to incorporate more within each issue.
Is It Good?
Surface Tension #2 has thinned the horror aspect which I found to be the most intriguing aspect of the comic so that’s sure to disappoint for this specific issue. Replacing the horror is the backstory of a relationship which helps provide the context of the sea sickness, but still comes off as a little dull. Yes it’s now more of a well-rounded comic, but I’m hoping to see more horror in the next issue.