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Sea Of Sorrows 1 Main

"Sea of Sorrows #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing


Written by Rich Douek
Illustrated by Alex Cormack
Lettered by Justin Birch
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 20th, 2020


Terror on the high seas begins in Sea of Sorrows. A salvage crew looks to score the find of a lifetime by dredging up a sunken U-boat rumored to be full of gold. Something dark and evil awaits in the murky depths.

The team behind Road of Bones reunites for this series. The location is different, but the level of terror remains the same, if not higher. Sea of Sorrows feels quite more foreboding than its predecessor, like you know that something horrible is going to happen to all these people, yet you're not sure what it will be or when it will happen. The setting definitely contributes to this, as there's no place to hide on the open water. If something were to come out of the sea, they have no place to run.

Artist Alex Cormack does a brilliant job framing the imagery in Sea of Sorrows. Shadows loom all around casting an ominous tone as this crew begins their work. Even the quiet, peaceful moments have a certain amount of dread to them. This might be the last normal conversation any of them ever has, so it paints it in a different light.

Click images to enlarge

There's a great sequence that pulls from one of the crewmembers' memories of combat in World War I. It's a seamless transition from the present to the past while maintaining the heightened state of tension. This showcases the horrors of war in a way that makes it feel like you're living it. This is what PTSD must feel like, rising up out of the blue to stop you right in your tracks.

This gives Sea of Sorrows terror on multiple levels. Yes, you have the scary stuff lurking in the water, but there are also the frightening things these men witnessed firsthand that have clung to them like a stowaway on their lives. They can't shake this trauma and it has changed them forever. Writer Rich Douek walks a fine line with this, giving it the weight it deserves without distracting too much from the main story.

Letterer Justin Birch adds just the right amount of emphasis to the flashback scenes with caption placement that allows each bit of narration to have the most impact. It slows down the scene too, so you can imagine this gristled veteran sharing this story between long puffs of a cigarette.

Click images to enlarge

I realize I've gone through this whole review without mentioning what is waiting for the crew in the waters. That's best experienced on your own. I will say that it's quite a surprise and gets scarier the farther you get into the book. Douek and Cormack have shown great skill in carefully controlling the tension and unease in a story and this is a perfect example of it. If scares were a dial, they are slowly turning it higher and higher as you read to the point where you're tensed up and your knuckles are white.

Sea of Sorrows works like a pot of water on a stove in terms of its scares. It starts off slow with a few bubbles here and there and then before you know it, it's boiling over. I already knew to give the ocean the respect it deserves. I learned that from Jaws. Sea of Sorrows reinforces that feeling and adds even more reasons to stay on the land. You have to wonder if the treasure trove this crew is after is worth the bloodshed they will most certainly endure.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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