REVIEW: ‘Sea of Sorrows,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sea of Sorrows #5

Sea of Sorrows #5 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Rich Douek, art by Alex Cormack, colors by Mark Mullaney, and letters by Justin Birch. The confrontation between factions explodes upon the Vagabond’s deck. Even as a storm threatens to swallow the ship whole, nature’s wrath seems to do nothing but amplify the rage aboard the ship. What will the outcome be in all this chaos? Will anyone escape alive?

One of the aspects of many horror tales that will completely ruin a strong story for me is when characters have a sudden drop in IQ at the worst possible moment. Whether it’s the iconic decision to run up the stairs instead of out the back door or the decision to hyper-fixate on something irrelevant even as the monster crashes toward the character, these dumb decisions on the part of previously intelligent characters always feel like writing that’s looking for an easy out. As I began this issue, I found myself concerned that Sea of Sorrows characters were about to make a similar error. Happily, writer Douek manages to avoid this mistake.

Sea of Sorrows #5 delivers everything I expected of this finale. The unbridled rage of a crew that has been lured to their deaths, a monster fully revealed in her wrath, and the war-torn memories of past struggles and trauma. Douek manages to bring all the elements that have built Sea of Sorrows up over its previous four issues together in a way that doesn’t compromise its characters to wrap up the narrative. With its final pages playing out another chorus to the monster’s grisly song, the book leaves readers with a veritable chill and consigns a character to a particularly bleak private Hell.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of Sea of Sorrows #5, though, is the art. After having shown so much restrain to foster the atmosphere of the story, the art team of Cormack and Mullaney finally get to unleash everything upon this book’s pages. And make no mistake, they are clearly reveling in the momentary freedom this finally permits them. From the emotional rage of the crew to the wrath of the monster, every blood-drenched moment of the Vagabond’s final battle delivers itself with every ounce of power that can be mustered into the panels of this book.

While Cormack’s delivery of the linework bears a lot of the energy this book wields, Mullaney’s colors do a fantastic job of augmenting the line-heavy art. While the colorist liberally applies crimson to these pages, Mullaney never goes so far as to drown them in it. This precision touch allows the color to maintain its striking feel when used in a splash panel or coats the beast’s giant maw.

Wrapping up Sea of Sorrows #5‘s presentation is Birch’s letters. Amidst the frenzy of this book’s moments, Birch never fails to guide the reader’s eyes smoothly from one dialogue box to the next. This, coupled with some wonderful sound effects and the implementation of musical notes in pertinent panels, send off this story with the same strong letters the creative has delivered since issue one.

Looking back on Sea of Sorrows #5, I can’t think of anything I could’ve asked for from this finale it doesn’t already deliver. So thank you to Douek, Cormack, Mullaney, and Birch for providing the comic book world with one helluva sea voyage.

Sea of Sorrows #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Sea of Sorrows #5
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TL;DR

Looking back on Sea of Sorrows #5, I can’t think of anything I could’ve asked for from this finale it doesn’t already deliver. So thank you to Douek, Cormack, Mullaney, and Birch for providing the comic book world with one helluva sea voyage.