Sea of Sorrows #2 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Rich Douek, art by Alex Cormack, and letters by Justin Birch. With the confirmation that the gold is where it should be, the salvage crew spends the night celebrating their good fortune. But these celebrations may have been premature for the treasure teeters on the edge of the abyss, and that may not even be their most urgent concern.
One of the requirements for a great horror tale is pacing. Once the introduction establishes the setup, the situation must be cultivated slowly. If done properly, the sense of foreboding will be established without the situation being so blatantly terrible that the reader is left wondering why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t just flee. Simultaneously, the story cannot take too light an approach with its danger, or it risks becoming boring. Happily, writer Douek can walk this delicate line beautifully here.
Sea of Sorrows #2 picks up the morning after issue one’s finale. With the harsh light of day comes some truths that didn’t immediately circulate through the crew concerning their sunken treasure. Namely, that it won’t be as simple as they first thought it would be. Not that salvaging gold in the middle of the Atlantic in 1926 could be called simple to begin with.
As this frustrating news makes its way through the crew, personalities begin to clash. Those who do not fully appreciate the dangers of the task at hand quickly grow impatient with what comes off to them as an overabundance of caution. This is one of the areas where Douek manages to apply the perfect amount of pressure to the situation. The hostility in the air is given enough punch to create the fractures that will undoubtedly prove problematic later, while again not taking it so far as to question why some people are still being allowed free reign of the ship. As all these interpersonal matters begin to ferment, we also see the monster in the shadows make its presence known.
Just as Sea of Sorrows #2 continues to deliver an excellently paced horror narrative, the art does an amazing job of delivering its story beats with all the low key tension and eerie mood the book calls for. First and foremost is Cormack’s excellent work with shadows. The artist knows just how much of each frame, face, and scene to cloak in darkness. The balance is always perfect for giving the dark tone of a scene without making the reader feel like they can’t tell what’s happening.
And while Cormack is generous with his shadows, I love how the placement of shadows is often ignored where eyes are concerned. Throughout this story, eyes that should be concealed by surrounding shadows are left fully visible. This is especially true for moments of surprise or other strong emotions. For some reason, this makes the emotion land harder than it might have otherwise, like even the veil of shadow cannot conceal it.
We wrap up the visual presentation with Birch’s lettering. The use of a rough textured font helps the text to fit in with the setting. Happily, the font isn’t so far off the standard that the roughness ever hampers readability.
When all is said and done, Sea of Sorrows #2 builds upon the excellent start its predecessor delivers to construct a superbly set-up narrative further. I look forward to learning where the story goes from here.
Sea of Sorrows #2 is available on December 23rd, wherever comics are sold.
Sea of Sorrows #2
When all is said and done, Sea of Sorrows #2 builds upon the excellent start its predecessor delivers to further construct a superbly set-up narrative. I look forward to learning where the story goes from here.