Published on May 28th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Surface Tension #1 Review
Imagine a world where the majority of the human race walked into the sea and never came back and a host of mutated, prehistoric creatures ruled the oceans. Sound weird? That’s the basis for Jay Gunn’s new miniseries from Titan Comics and yes, it is a bit weird.
Megumi and Eric travel to the coast of Ghana to help clean up after a massive oil spill. While witnessing the devastation Eric discovers a strange coral formation in the ocean and they take a boat out to investigate. The strange structure pulses with life and when Megumi touches it she gets a horrible vision and a body jarring shock. Eric appears unaffected but in the long run isn’t quite so lucky. He under goes a transformation which at first gives him the ability to remove the pollution from the water but eventually he becomes the first person to show signs of the infection that wipes out the majority of the human race.
Six months later and the infection spreads throughout the world. Not only does it mutate the infected but it introduces an unstoppable urge to walk into the ocean.
A year after the sea-sickness, on the island of Breith where a group of survivors are etching out a life, someone returns from the sea.
Jay Gunn has created a strange world that is recognisable as a typical post-apocalyptic world. The island settlement is reminiscent of the English middle class annihilation TV series Survivors where everything seems more like a mild inconvenience rather than the end of the world. And the base of operations in the community centre looks like it was lifted directly from the CBS TV show Jericho. Throw into the mix a collection of mutated sea creatures and you have an intriguing environment for the narrative.
Unfortunately much of the story feels like nothing more than framing for the large historic exposition which is lacking in engaging character. Breith, despite its tweeness, proves to be the most interesting element of the narrative but isn’t featured enough in this first issue. I really wanted to see more of the fish-mask wearing cult featured at the funeral in the story but they seemed to be explained away in two lines of dialogue. Also the environmental issues that seem to play a large part when Megumi and Eric are introduced, especially with Eric’s new found ability to magically remove pollution, disappear with the emergence of the sea-sickness and don’t feature elsewhere in the comic. A missed opportunity? perhaps, only future issues can tell.
The design of the coral structures and the mutated creatures are interesting and show a love of the prehistoric. There are some inconsistencies within the work however and Gunn appears to favour the wide open mouth shocked look for his characters, it feels like not a single page can pass without a gaping maw.
It’s a large opening issue and is packed with scene setting story but on occasions tends to repeat itself. If the history was spread over several issues this might have felt less like an information leaflet and the environment and characters could have been fleshed out. For the most part this is an enjoyable read although I thought it lacked intentional humour (I found myself laughing a couple of times when I don’t think I was meant to– gaping mouths been one of them). Hopefully future issues will focus on the survivors more in which case this could prove to be an interesting miniseries.
Title: Surface Tension
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer/Artist: Jay Gunn