Something’s gotten . . . very squishy.
This is a little different than the titles I usually check out from Archaia; it’s much more gruesome. Swifty Lang’s tale begins with a boy out of his element on a pirate skiff off the coast of Africa, in an active firefight. Unused to violence, and unable to rise to the challenge, he finds himself at odds with the company he’s keeping, and on a small boat in the middle of deadly seas, that’s no minor thing. Lang paints a vivid picture of the world our protagonist now inhabits and what lengths he’ll have to go to in order to survive. As if general piracy and all its glory weren’t enough for him to deal with, the crew stumbles upon a discovery that seems like a godsend but carries its own dangers that seem to be on an entirely different level.
This issue kept surprising me, and I found that to be very encouraging, as it’s far from the types of things I tend to read. There’s a macabre scene that’s come upon by these unwanted marauders, and while it’s horrifying to me, they seem to care little for the devastation around them, serving as a good reminder that things that can be awful for those of us lucky enough to live in stable countries can be the status quo for others not so lucky, and the kind of cold detachment in the face of such things only underlies the mentality of seeing death in all its forms and needing to focus and keep moving. To be affected by the dead typically means to join them in their fate. Lang keeps a good pace and though Skuds McKinley’s art makes us want to look anywhere but the page, we’re drawn to this nightmare and the men living it.
McKinley does a great job of reminding us the root word of visceral and manages to convey all of the horror of a terrible fate without the recognition of it by the group we’re following in this story. This is not a book hiding its secrets in shadows and visual tricks; everything is laid out starkly, and yet he finds a way to make it more chilling than if he used our imaginations to fill in the holes. There’s a pressure to keep moving from the story and the art, and it feels like marching the last mile of your life, unable to keep from taking in every detail though you wish for oblivion.
Horror fans will certainly dig this series and should have a good ride.
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