Since my first ever haul post, I have not been able to stay out of my local comic store. I’m not saying, I went back again, oopsy, I’m so silly, no. I can’t stop thinking about the place. My eyes have been opened. I am converted. Even if I know what I want when I go in, I also want to pick up random issues off the shelves and stare at the covers for a few hours. I guess I’m just an all-or-nothing type of girl, but I like it that way.
So I succumbed to the inevitable and purchased the next three issues of Southern Cross, which was an impulse-buy during my last haul. That color palette– the muted tones, the blues and streaks of red– really spoke to me. It said, “You don’t know me. But you will buy me. I will destroy you. And you will love me.”
Boy, did they.
Much like the color palette, this story very subtly peaks your interest. It doesn’t leap out at you. Its characters even keep their hands close to their chests (metaphorically speaking, of course; I promise most, if not all, characters maintain full range of motion throughout). It took until the end of the second issue for me to realize: oh, this is a horror story!
The first issue is absolutely the most tame. You’re introduced to the setting: Southern Cross, tanker flight 73 en route to TITAN. You meet Alex Braith, who has a quick temper and a violent past, who is searching for the answer to her sister’s sudden death. The rest are a shady cast of characters, from the absentminded Captain, to Alex’s overly chatty bunkmate, to the creepy Kyril across the haul who has some interesting and distinctive tattoos. From this first introduction, you are acutely aware that everyone on this ship has some secrets they’d rather stay buried.
Interestingly enough, I found the most telling parts of the story were not in the narration, but in the character’s facial expressions. It’s something I’ve never really noticed in a comic/graphic novel before, and I loved that there was a perfect balance between showing and telling. The art also reflected a sense of spacial awareness and motion that really made me think if I ever found myself on Southern Cross, I would already know my way around.
However, having read the issues following, I don’t know that the first issue quite set the tone of the rest of the series. It’s very science fiction, murder-mystery, and while it leaves you suspecting that there will be something more coming, it does take a rather sharp turn into horror/borderline-paranormal territory rather quickly, and I would have like to see a little more of that in the introductory issue.
Where I totally could have waited a few more days, even a few weeks to pick up #2-4, I was immensely grateful that I picked them up all at once. Had I only picked up the second issue, I would have immediately walked myself back to the comic book store, purchased the third and fourth, and sat myself down on the floor in the shop to finish them. I don’t understand how anyone, reading each as they came out every month or so, could have survived the wait. There is just so much new information and so many different disjointed pieces of possibly multiple puzzles that arise within the second issue alone!
I think my favorite part of the storytelling is you cannot tell what is real and what is imagined, and neither can any of the characters. That just makes the horror aspect all the more terrifying. At the same time, the narration is very clear and I never felt totally lost. Even though this is a story that plays with your sense of reality, it doesn’t do so by trying to confuse you. Some stories would try to throw you off, but I truly felt like with every issue I was a little bit closer to understanding, even if it turns out later that I’m really not.
Overall, this series, man. Every time I think about it, it just gets better in my mind. If last night it was a 10 outta 10, today it’s a solid 11.
As I mentioned in my haul, the fifth issue will be out on July 22, 2015, and I highly, highly, highly recommend you check this out. Positively stellar.
No space travel pun intended.