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Sea of Red #3
posted July 6, 2005


Creators: Rick Remender, Kieron Dwyer, Salgood Sam, Ed Dukeshire
Publishing Info: Image, 2005, 32 pages, $2.95
Ordering Numbers:

There's a lot that's admirable to Sea of Red as piece of entertaining pulp, one of what I'm guessing could be a rush of comics projects to combine the recently fertile but narrow comics straits of zombies and pirates. The art is effectively moody, heavily toned in, unsurprisingly, the color red. The character design is solid, featuring a mix of believable body types (there is, thank God, no comics tradition of overly muscled pirates of which I'm aware, but I'm sure someone out there will try it). The dialogue is unremarkable but should be familiar and appealing enough to anyone who has ever consumed a steady diet of adventure movies and television dramas.

So why pay attention to this series? Well, mostly because of the promise on display in a killer plot twist between issues #1 and #2. At the close of the first issue, our hero suffers at the fangs of a sailing ship's vampire crew and gets stuck on the ocean floor for his trouble, immortal but nearly starved. We find out in issue #2 that he's remained down there until modern times, when a film crew headed by a producer with exploitation firmly in mind happens to rescue him. That jump, and the confidence to leave behind so much story material, was audacious enough it shook loose a lot of goodwill; surely someone happy to make that drastic a move would be willing to try a few more.

Despite the appearance of sea monsters and the destruction/murder of most of the crew and their support on the original boat, isssue #3 seemed slightly lacking with #2's big reveal still in mind. The funniest thing is that the vampire protagonist Marco seems to be sort of an annoying goofball, alternately wallowing with self-pity and then raging at those in position to make decisions he's disqualified himself from making. The story feels truncated here, too, something that might be a factor in future issues -- short not in the reading but in the memory for the incremental progress made in terms of recognizable story elements like character development and geographical movement. Still, this is one of the few pulpy comics on the stands that you can see a 13-year-old buying and perhaps feeling they got their money's worth, a story familiar enough to comfort and different enough to hold a fan's attention.