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Comic Review: ‘Surface Tension’ Series (#1-#5)

This week the final issue of Surface Tension was released, bringing the 5-part mini-series written and illustrated by Jay Gunn and distributed by Titan Comics to an end. As such, we wanted to reflect back on the eco-thriller that featured everything from sea-sickness water zombies, to horrifying aqua monsters, to islanders in peril.

Surface Tension Issue #4
Surface Tension Issue #4

Since our February interview with Gunn, we have gushed about the four major reasons we loved issue #1, pondered the story’s mysteries in issue #2, and commended the series for keeping us guessing even after the midway point following issue #3.

Issue #4 gave us all of the answers to our questions, and some of my own predictions ended up being correct. Without spoiling too much, the series did raise the question on who was the bigger threat to planet earth: mankind or the “monsters.” However, there were some plot points I never would have guessed. It was revealed that the “monsters” themselves had a fascinating origin story, one that, quite frankly, could very well be possible for all we know. One complaint of mine is that while the story did a good job of building up the tension (ha, no pun intended) in issues 1-3, the denoument in issue #4 was too cut and dry (not another pun, I swear). The story unfolded using too much exposition. On one hand, I appreciated that everything was made clear, on the other hand, it lacked a certain amount of drama.

Surface Tension Issue #5
Surface Tension Issue #5

Issue #5 was the grand finale. I must say, this is where the drama returned! There’s a budding love triangle that ends up being surprisingly touching and several super hero-esque battles (whose action and movement were creatively illustrated, I might add). One scene I simply adored featured Super Megumi literally having the fate of mankind in her hands, as she holds Mary in her palm and debates whether or not wiping out the humans would be the best thing for the planet. The symbolism and art work accompanied the story nicely. At the end of the issue, I really felt like there was great closure… up until the last few pages. Gunn snuck in a twist that makes you wonder whether or not mankind got a happy ending.

Overally, I enjoyed the Surface Tension series. I found the characters to be interesting and morally ambiguous, and I genuinely cared about what would happen to them. The artwork was lovely, and I particularly enjoyed the whimsy of the monsters, the selkies (sea lion/humanoid/monster creatures that I want as a pet), the coral, and the scenes of the characters’ memories. Despite the occasional bit of foul language, the violence wasn’t overtly graphic, and the story was easy to follow along, making this a series I would recommend to everyone from a middle school student to my best adult buddy.

Did you read the final issue of Surface Tension? If so, let us know what you thought! And if not, well, weigh in anyway in the comments!

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