07th Oct2015

‘Surface Tension #5’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written and Drawn by Jay Gunn | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 40pp


Rather like the sea that is the central focus of this science fiction/environmental destruction fable, Surface Tension has had its ups and downs. There has been a lot to enjoy, but also some questionable pacing and average art. I was hoping Jay Gunn was holding a little back to go out with a bang, as this series certainly deserves it.

Last issue gave us a lot of exposition from Meg and Erik, a lot of previously unknown information to both characters and readers alike. In a nutshell the alien Plasmoids want the human race gone, hence the sea sickness wiping out most of humanity. Meg and Ryan, the now human/plasmoid hybrids were created by Erik, a human who had been absorbed into the coral, using Plasmoid technology, to try and fight back against the invaders and save the remaining human survivors.  Meg and Ryan now evolve into the beings they were created to be, and return to the island.

We get the obligatory fight scene with the huge monster that was revealed to be the Plasmoid ‘antidote’ to the ‘virus’ that was the hybrids, as Meg is seemingly killed as Ryan forces it back into the ocean. Ryan’s new powers prove pretty impressive as he effectively resurrects Meg, and the survivors all fall back, symbolically, to the church. Even more symbolically, Ryan attacks the monster with a graveyard stone cross, aided by the returned mutated Selkie. In a rather manic second act it all, in effect, falls to Meg; she can either wipe out humanity, and let nature heal and start over, or trust humanity not to screw things up a second time. She wavers, but Mary persuades her to save humanity.

The final act sees the few remaining plot threads tied up and Gunn’s environmental message, previously subtly intertwined with the sci-fi , now given centre stage. The coral has been destroyed, and a dying Meg gives a speech about balance in nature, and the consequences of our actions if we fail to honour that. Humanity must learn, or it will all happen again. Thought-provoking stuff, and the harmony between land and sea is given actual physical form when a newborn baby is mysteriously left on the island 5 months later. A human looking baby, but blue…We may not have seen the last of the people of Breith.

For this final installment of Surface Tension I thought Gunn really put out the best issue of the series. The artwork was excellent, really standing out in both action and quieter scenes. He seemed to have particular fun with the monsters and hybrids, with an almost cinematic quality. The pacing of the story was very strong, everything was wrapped up nicely, Gunn got his message in at the end, and left the door open for a sequel. Textbook stuff. I really felt it delivered on the early promise, and read as a whole will really stand up.

Surface Tension told a unique story, in a very entertaining way, something many superstar creators of today could learn from. Jay Gunn is definitely a creator to keep an eye on.

**** 4/5

Surface Tension #5 is out now from Titan Comics


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