Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sea Part Two


By Will Kirkby
chamonkee.livejournal.com

I really enjoyed the first volume (issue?) of Kirkby's The Sea, and I was looking forward to reading the second one. Though, I will be honest, I had no idea there even was a second volume until I got it off Kirkby at a comics event, the first volume seemed to have wrapped itself up nicely.

So it makes sense that this comic begins with a completely new character and scenario. The main character this time around is a Japanese WWII fighter pilot. This can be seen as brave (ie. making the “enemy” the main character), or stereotypical (there were Japanese people during WWII who didn't fly planes, am I alone in thinking Japanese WWII pilots are overrepresented in fiction?). I'm not really sure what to think of it, and I guess there's no specific mention that it is WWII. But from the characters’ names, clothing, accessories, and the fact that the Americans are mentioned as the enemy you sort of have to surmise that’s what’s going on.

The story this time follows a character who has crashed his plane on an uncharted island, there follows exploration, mysteries, and monsters! The story is told using the internal narration and frequent close ups of the main character's face that filled the first issue, but now that we’re not spending weeks in a boat there are far more places to go and more people to interact with. There’re still weird monsters, a mysterious stranger who offers a choice, and the main character is left with much soul searching and a difficult decision to make, but while using some tropes similar to the previous issue this is still different enough to be interesting.

The end of the comic features some plot elements that begin to intertwine with threads from the previous issue, but it's not necessary for you to notice this to enjoy the comic. About the only complaint I have is that the comic doesn’t so much end as stop, leaving me desperate to know what happens next.

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