REVIEW: ‘Sea of Sorrows,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sea of Sorrows #4

Sea of Sorrows #4 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Rich Douek, art by Alex Cormack, colors by Mark Mullaney, and letters by Justin Birch. With Nick running out of line underwater, and a crew on the verge of mutiny above, the situation aboard the Vagabond looks ready to explode. But there may still be a chance to salvage it as those with their heads still on straight hasten to right things before the impending storm hits.

Sea of Sorrows #4 picks up with Nick as he blindly chases the elusive music beneath the water. This opening does a great job of using the visuals to reflect how Nick’s mind is cracking under the siren’s song. Between the wildness of his eyes and how the art portrays the environment around him, the warping of Nick’s perception threatens to drag the reader into the depths with him. The sequence ends when a figure is shown coming up behind Nick to retrieve him.

This figure’s presence, along with a related change in job assignments topside, caused me to go back to the previous issue a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t forgotten about a scene, which I hadn’t. While what happens between issues three and four makes logical sense, the awkward jump does come across as a bit confusing.

Writing in a limited format is a tricky proposition. For a story to make sense, it needs to show the important plot points that drive the narrative and the connective tissue that brings them together. While every step along the way doesn’t need to be shown, the reader needs to at least be shown when a character starts down a path. Otherwise, when the character appears somewhere that they had no expectations of, their presence can serve as a point of confusion that detracts from the narrative.

And speaking of the situation aboard the Vagabond, Sea of Sorrows #4 sees Sofia taking steps to attempt to quell the rising anger of many of the men on board. While searching for means to achieve this end, she has a brief confrontation with one of the more I’ll tempered passengers. Unfortunately for her attacker, Sofia can defend herself. While her defense style may lack any sort of finesse, one must admire its brutal effectiveness.

There’s more I want to talk about, but I can’t without delving too closely to spoiler territory. Suffice it to say, by the time this issue ends, the fecal matter has hit the propeller. All that remains is to see if the Captain, and what remains of the loyal crew can salvage the situation enough so somebody might survive the excursion.

From the first panels to the final page, Cormack’s art continues to deliver this narrative’s mood with pitch-perfect skill. The growing darkness that threatens to consume the Vagabond is presented skillfully. Just as with the opening sequence, there is another down in the hold that captures the moment of horror with chilling precision.

This overriding darkness of the story’s tone is only broken by moments of rage. These spots break the book up, creating a sharp contrast between the book’s different moments, creating an interesting sort of narrative rhythm to the tale.

Rounding out the presentation is another strong lettering performance by Birch. The narrative throughout the books flows cleanly from panel to panel through his well-placed letters.

With only the small continuity hiccup between issues holding it back, Sea of Sorrows #4 delivers an otherwise flawless performance. The mood, emotion, and character of its story are all handled perfectly. As it continues to build its tension up, I find myself drawn deeper and deeper into its siren’s song.

Sea of Sorrows #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Sea of Sorrows #4
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TL;DR

With only the small continuity hiccup between issues holding it back, Sea of Sorrows #4 delivers an otherwise flawless performance. The mood, emotion, and character of its story are all handled perfectly. As it continues to build its tension up, I find myself drawn deeper and deeper into its siren’s song.