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Review: Surface Tension – Vol. 1

Our story begins on Breith, an island in the British Channel. One year ago, huge coral towers grew from the sea. A plague they call the “sea sickness” spread throughout much of the world’s population. The Coral “Sentinels” inexplicably drew the infected into the sea, turning their flesh to water. Strange and dangerous creatures began dwelling in the depths of the ocean, making it a treacherous and deadly place. And not one of those who walked into the sea ever returned. Until now.

Surface-Tension_01_Cover_A

A red-headed girl named Shauna finds a pair of unconscious — but living — beings along the shoreline. They seem human, aside from their blue skin color. The man and woman awaken and begin speaking. Shauna is astonished and calls for help.

Survivors

The male survivor, Ryan, is from the island of Breith and Shauna’s lost boyfriend. The woman is not from the island. Jean Cassel, Breith’s Community Center manager, goes to find Mary, a local older woman. He tells her the female survivor, Megumi Suzuki, is asking to speak to her. Mary last saw Megumi on that final day when the sea sickness claimed so many, including Megumi herself.

Mary goes to talk to her old friend and finds Ryan and Meg do not remember how they managed to get ashore. Nor do they know what is wrong with them. She tells them of the Sea Sickness.

Mary asks Meg about Ghana and Erik, and a possible cause of what has happened to the world, is revealed.

Six months before the Sea Sickness, there was a massive oil disaster off the Ghanaese coast. Meg and boyfriend Erik were scientists who helped with the clean-up operation. They returned four months later to monitor the crisis. While the spill was seemingly contained, everything under the surface of the ocean was dying.

Then Erik found a massive coral tower growing from the ocean floor. The living coral seemed to have cleaned the water ocean around it. Erik invited Megumi to touch the coral and it gave her an electric-type shock. Erik was surprised at this response as his encounters were nothing but pleasant.

Coral Sentinel

In the subsequent weeks, they saw life being restored to the sea. Erik became more entranced with the coral and the power it seemed to hold. Meg grew more wary. She examined the Coral and found that it seemed to have developed a sort of cancer. She then discovered that Erik was physically changing. With a wave of his hand, he could dissolve oil, much like the Coral did. He felt he had been chosen, but Megumi realized he was sick.

Crazy Erik

One night Meg followed Erik out to the Coral. When she got there she found Erik physically bonded with the Coral. He tells her that the Coral came to Earth long ago and was asleep until they woke it up. It wanted to know why the world grew so sick. Erik said the Coral wants to help the world but it needs his help to do so. He told her to leave him and to remember that everything is connected.

Coral Erik

Megumi left Erik. The next day, all evidence of the Coral and Erik had disappeared.

Mary feels sure Meg’s story, the Sea Sickness and the return of Meg and Ryan are connected, but is at a loss of how.

Elsewhere on Breith, two men spot some activity by the shore. Thinking there might be other survivors, they go to investigate. A large sea monster attacks them shouting “All anomalies! Must be reconnected!”

Sea Monster

World Building
  • The remaining habitants of Breith seem immune to the Seas Sickness. After the plague, they rebuilt the community. The Breith Community Center, run by Jean Cassel, keeps track of the population and sustainability. It is vital for the island to be well organized and plow as many fields as possible to grow enough crops to sustain them through the winter.
  • As sea creatures attack any ship going to or from the island, the habitants of Breith are in true isolation. Tractors and other vehicles seem to be of no use without petrol to fuel them. Farmers use horses to plow their fields and horse-drawn carriages for transportation.
  • New religions have been born from the catastrophe of the Sickness. Men and women in fish-like masks oversee funerary proceedings.

Fish Heads

 

Thoughts:

This was a pretty solid initial issue. The post-apocalyptic premise is a rather unique take and a timely one, with oil spills peppering the headlines. I look forward to seeing how the story builds and welcome more of the creature art.

About Mallika Chakravarti (99 Articles)
Mallika is a digital marketer, yoga teacher and nutritionist. She spends her fun time writing, podcasting, consuming vast amounts of media and wishing she could fly. Mallika can currently be found thinking of something else.
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