SOUTHERN CROSS #1
Writer: Becky Cloonan
Art: Andy Belanger
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Serge LaPointe
I imagine a typical Friday night for Becky Cloonan or Andy Belanger includes sipping wine and eating fancy cheeses while watching movies like Akira or The Abyss. How else could a science fiction mystery like Southern Cross exist? Regardless of the how, Southern Cross is now a thing, and it’s as necessary as any of the great 80’s sci-fi stories.
Written by Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Southern Cross story is the journey of Alex Braith, a young woman who hitches a ride on a space tanker called the Southern Cross. She’s traversing the galaxy to a moon called Titan in order to investigate the suspicious circumstances of her sister’s demise. The opening chapter is gritty and gives very little away as the story unfolds. We spend the majority of the issue learning about Alex and the corporation she suspects to be at fault, Zemi. Cloonan has crafted a character that readers can both love and hate. While her inner monologue gives us reason to feel for her; it’s the interactions with others aboard the ship that make you say “what an a**hole. “ For example there’s one tense exchange between Alex and her cabin punctuated by a dripping faucet in the background which makes it that much more uncomfortable to watch. Regardless of what side you fall on, Alex is a unique internal mystery of a character.
The art of Andy Belanger (Black Church) is well suited for Southern Cross. From a design stand point; the world of the story feels outer space massive in scale yet almost “down to earth” in a way. The massive spaceports almost look like city skylines. Even the Southern Cross itself doesn’t feel alien; it opts for the look of an oil tanker at sea. These strategic touches make easy connections between the readers and themes they’ll uncover throughout the series. For all the comforts he puts in the book, Belanger knows when to get sci-fi weird. The Cross is half Delorean and half creepy parts of the Queen Mary. Belanger’s art buttresses the story all the way through to the end. Once you get to that final intense panel, the horrors really begin and you want issue two already.
When picking up the book, keep in mind you’re in for a slow burn with a deep mystery that will unravel at the right moments. If you enjoy tension and suspense… pick up Southern Cross. If you’re a fan of haunting style horror… pick up Southern Cross. Should you fancy complex and rewarding character… pick up Southern Cross. This has officially become my new vice, it’s just that addictive.
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