Surface Tension has continued to grow more and more peculiar as the series has gone on, but has it gone too far?
Is it Good?
Surface Tension #4 (Titan Comics)
Last issue the islanders launched a stand against the creature from the sea attempting to destroy any human anomalies and also got some sweet/nightmare-inducing pictures of sea monster-human hybrids. In this issue, Gunn finally gives the readers his complete explanation to what is driving this whole event. In terms of the series’ big picture, this issue is on the precipice of the climax where everything is explained and now from here on out the issue simply must be resolved. Now while I said Gunn gave his explanation for the sea sickness and the man behind the seashell mask, I don’t necessarily mean everything has become understandable.
Gunn has weaved an extremely complex story for us and while I believe the concept at its core is a good one, the execution has been a little muddled and that’s to be expected for someone’s debut into the comic book industry. Some readers appreciate the confusion and mystery of some series (most things by Grant Morrison for example), however Surface Tension has added so many components to the storyline that it’s hampered the quality of the storyline in my opinion. In this issue, Meg once again delves into her memory (which isn’t making any real sense to me because it’s more like lucid dreaming) and finally finds the answers that she, and all of us readers alike, have been yearning for since things started getting weird in the second issue.
The story is split between three separate storylines, that of Meg going into some other reality where most questions about the sickness are answered, Ryan finding his brother and Cassel setting out on a solo mission to take out the sea creature singlehandedly. The Ryan and Cassel events are my favorite aspects of the issue and the series so far because it makes me realize I care about the characters and it’s in that aspect where Gunn has succeeded with this comic. While I don’t care for all the complexities and inception moments of the comic, there are moments like Ryan’s and Cassel’s that affect you which is the goal of any comic book creative team.
As always, the one thing that has been a constant throughout the series is the artwork which Gunn does another fantastic job with. There are more impressive shots of the creature along with some truly creepy new monsters that we haven’t seen before. The facial expressions are better, but they still have nothing on Gunn’s talent for drawing environment or creatures. I also don’t know if the issue is really long or it just feels long due to the explanations and wordy-ness of the panels, but it should feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.
Is It Good?
This issue holds the key to the vast majority of questions this series has accrued, but I personally still find it unnecessarily confusing.
This should serve as a make it or break it issue for a lot of people following the series and really it comes down to a personal decision. The issue has a lot of good components and even some emotional parts. Gunn once again kills it with the art and the story here on out should contain more action now that the backstory has been completely caught up.