ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Sea of Sorrows,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sea of Sorrows

Sea of Sorrows #1 is published by IDW Publishing, written by Rich Douek and art by Alex Cormack. It’s 1926 and a seasoned crew searches the sea for a sunken German submarine. It supposedly carries a cargo of gold aboard it. But with struggles above the water and unknown threats beneath, there is more to this journey than some simple plunder.

One of the keys to horror is tone. The right tone must be established for the moments to have the necessary impact. Ominous, elusive horrors must be given the proper shadows to play in. The book must allow them a way to move freely throughout the tale, even when they couldn’t possibly be in the scene. Sea of Sorrows #1 establishes this mood splendidly.

Through the liberal use of heavy shadowing, along with a full embrace of allowing negative space to dominate some pages, there is a sense of foreboding throughout Sea of Sorrows #1. Cormack further utilizes these dark tones to allow the characters to stand out. As the bulk of the color within the book comes directly from them.

This highlighting of the cast isn’t wasted either. Cormack breathes life into these personalities through both visual design that makes each unique, as well as showing an excellent talent for really driving the character’s emotions home. There is a balance struck between the darker tone of the book and the slightly over the top expression often present in the comic medium. The characters look alive, but not so much as they seem out of place in their setting.

Emotion is the cornerstone of the story told here. Douek creates opportunities both great and small to put the characters front and center. Letting the reader get to know them. This character-centric storytelling fully establishes the cast for the reader. Which is of critical importance if the reader is to become invested in the fates of these characters.

Perhaps all the above elements come together best in Sea of Sorrows #1 when one of the characters tells another about his time serving during the war. In this sequence, as Douek writes the character’s emotions in a natural, fluid way, Cormack’s art paints the images with all the stark horror the moment is due.

The last thing I need to talk about in Sea of Sorrows #1 is the monster itself. While the basic design itself isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, there is a sense of dread to it. Like it is suffering. As if it bears some unseen burden to it. While I don’t know what will become of it, it feels like more than a mean beastie to go bump in the night. There is a story there. And I want to know it.

All these elements come together to form an exceptional beginning for Sea of Sorrows #1. I usually find it hard to get invested in this style of story, but the creative team here has completely won me over. The only thing that disappoints me about this story is how long I’ll have to wait to read issue two.

Sea of Sorrows #1 is available on May 20th wherever comics are sold.

Sea of Sorrows #1


All these elements come together to form an exceptional beginning for Sea of Sorrows #1.

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