Indie comic book publisher Inverse Press has been releasing comic books and graphic novels since 2010, and readers can always count on the publisher to provide stories that venture outside of conventional norms. With their latest release, Eyes of the Hurricane, Inverse Press shares a personal tale of survival, hope, and faith based on the memories and experiences of Roberto Acosta, a survivor of Hurricane Ivan.
Adapted and written by Inverse Press partner Kevin LaPorte (Clown Town, Roadkill du Jour, Last Ride for Horsemen), Eyes of the Hurricane tells Acosta’s experience on September 16, 2004, when Hurricane Ivan slammed into the shore of his home in Gulf Shores, Alabama, wreaking havoc on everything and everyone in its path. Acosta planned to ride out the storm in his home, and, in a brief respite from the forceful winds, he encountered the strangest thing: a hummingbird, alive and well, which would serve as a messenger of sorts for him, spiritually and emotionally. The comic proceeds to follow Acosta’s imagination after meeting the hummingbird, which led him to a group of fairies in need of shelter during the storm. Together, Acosta and the fairies share safety and friendship, riding out the storm and living to see another day. In the end, the characters rejoice in their good fortune and attribute their salvation to the work of their god.
The artwork of Eyes of the Hurricane is truly the stand-out star of this one-shot comic book. Illustrated by Amanda Rachels (Clown Town, Flesh of White), the facial features of both the human and fairy characters are stunningly detailed, and the color palette is, at the same time, dark and moody yet vibrant and captivating.
The comic itself moves at a brisk pace and serves as a quick and enjoyable read, as the story is wrapped into a 20-page one-shot. Where the comic could have improved was in its story and dialogue. The fantastical nature of Acosta’s account of the hurricane seemed to come out of nowhere, which was a bit jarring as the reader. When I initially learned of the story, I, perhaps incorrectly, assumed that the story would share a more realistic account of a survivor from Hurricane Ivan. While I cannot fathom how challenging Acosta’s experience in the storm may have been or its impact on his imagination, I simply was not expecting the story to take the direction that it did. In addition, I did not anticipate the heavy religious tones of the story. As a non-religious person, it was rather difficult to connect with the characters and their gratitude towards (and direct communication with) God for their salvation from the storm; however, more religious minded individuals may find comfort in this ending.
Overall, Eyes of the Hurricane continues Inverse Press’ tradition of providing unique perspectives of compelling stories to readers. While I would caution that this account of a survivor of Hurricane Ivan takes a more fantastical approach to the experience, it remains a fascinating read.