11th Sep2015

‘Surface Tension #4’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written and Drawn by Jay Gunn | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp


Surface Tension is now approaching the conclusion of its 5 issue story, and Jay Gunn has left himself plenty of plot strands to tie up. We have seen some hints and clues here and there, and a measure of back story for the main characters, (especially the hybrids) but issue 4 seems to be where we learn exactly what is going on.

Last issue saw a creature emerge from the sea and attack the island, looking to reclaim the hybrids, the strange human/sea creature amalgamations, and the islanders fought to defend their homes. Gunn pushes the plot forward this issue by sketching out 3 separate, though connected in the larger picture, storylines. The most important sees Meg, and the reader, finally get some answers about the sea sickness that started all this. Having plowed through 4 issues, it is nice to finally get some answers, though to my jaded eyes it all seemed a little too pat considering the buildup.

The second storyline sees Kyle catch up with his brother Ryan, neither of whom can pass for human anymore; Gunn throws in some nice emotion here, showing what happened to their father and led to their separation in the past. It’s a nice human moment, at a time when the monster element of the plot is taking over. The third story strand sees Cassel, in Captain Ahab mode, decide to try and take out the monster single-handedly. He knows even if he succeeds, it will not be something he can return from, yet he still does it. Gunn conveys Cassel’s tragic heroism very well.

Although I found Gunn’s plotting a little erratic across the 4 issues, he leaves this issue cliffhanger exactly where he wanted to be; Meg and Ryan will have a final chance to try and save humanity and destroy the alien/coral life forms. The pieces have indeed fallen into place, though I felt Gunn had to force one or two in, but as a first effort Surface Tension has been very interesting.

The art again is not bad, though I do find some of the scenes between characters can be very static, whereas some of the action scenes are done very well. I do like the overall look of Gunn’s art though, he captures mood and environment very well, and threw in some nice well-designed full page splashes too.

Overall, I liked this issue but didn’t love it. I felt it could have been better, pushed a little more for the reader’s attention. For an issue with the big reveal, the background on exactly what has been going on, it just felt a little too ordinary. Maybe Gunn is saving the best for the final issue next month.

For a series that has tried to be a little different, I really hope it can end on a real high note.

*** 3/5

Surface Tension #4 is out now from Titan Comics


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