"It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again!" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Bluewater Comics
Written by Clay and Susan Griffith
Illustrated by Chris Noeth and Todd Tennant
$14.99, 94 Pages
Graphic Novel released on June 7th, 2011
Creature Features are making a huge comeback on the small screen and on DVD so it's no surprise that they're returning to comics as well. Bluewater has partnered with horror icon Ray Harryhausen to produce a sequel to the cult film It Came From Beneath the Sea as a full-color graphic novel. If you've seen the original or any of the other recent monster movies such as Sharktopus or Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus, you know what you're getting into here.
It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again! starts out on a stormy night two years ago. The U.S.S. Carlso is making its way through the Pacific Ocean when it's attacked by a giant octopus. The ship makes it back to shore, but several men were lost. Captain Shephard is seen as a madman with his stories of the huge beast responsible for his trouble at sea.
Years pass and Shephard is now a drunk holed up at Tiki Sam's, a bar in Taru Taru. He's approached by Faust Spunkmeyer, a budding ichthyologist looking for someone to take him out to study a giant cephalopod in the area. The ship is attacked and Shephard realizes that this is the same beast that was responsible for the death of his men. Armed with a bottle of rum and a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt, the disgraced captain seeks vengeance on this creature of the deep. As with any monster movie, things get out of hand and quickly go over the top. I'm not going to spoil the twists and turns, but suffice it to say there are several epic battles between man and cephalopod.
This book is written with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Instead of taking itself too seriously like all too many comics do nowadays, It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again! sets out to have fun and accomplishes it beautifully. The dialogue is outrageous and always funny. The action is insane and constantly trying to one-up itself panel after panel.
My only real issue with the book is the art. There are four chapters of this graphic novel and they're done by two very different artists. The first two are handled by Chris Noeth who has a very uneven style. Some panels, such as close-ups of Shephard, look great and are very detailed while others, especially those with a lot going on, seem awkward and slightly rushed. Noeth could be a great artist, but a lot of this looks like he was trying to get everything done before a tight deadline.
The final two chapters are illustrated by Todd Tennant. Tennant's style is the complete opposite of Noeth's. Where Noeth seems better with the close character shots, Tennant's close shots often feature the oddest facial expressions I've ever seen. Meanwhile, his action shots are just insane. There are huge battles with the giant octopus throughout the second half of the book and Tennant's art brings them to life with huge flowing arms (not tentacles as I learned throughout this read). He still has his share of shortcuts though. There are many panels where it's clear that he used a photo as a background or even as major parts of the shot. That's just lazy. There are also a handful of images that are made up of a rudimentary CG shot with some character drawn on top of it. These shortcuts really hurt the art. I would have liked to see the art handled by one person, though, or at least two people with similar styles for consistency's sake.
It Came From Beneath the Sea...Again! is what it is. This is an over-the-top, hilarious and fun creature feature in comic book form. The story gets bigger and bolder as it rushes towards its conclusion, too. If you ever wanted to see the Navy take on a giant six armed sea monster, then look no further.
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