One of my real sleeper surprises of this year has been Southern Cross. Within its previous three issues, it has delivered some strong creepy sci fi thrills and chills, invoking an eerie air that will hang with you long after you have finished reading it. Big props go to writer Becky Cloonen and artist Andy Belanger who have really delivered a worthwhile story, mixing the best elements of science fiction, horror, mystery, as well as detailing a future of mega conglomerates, dirty politics, and shady dealing all along the promise of advancement and prosperity. At the heart of this tale is one Alex Braith who has booked a passage aboard the Southern Cross starship headed toward the Saturn moon of Titan. On the agenda for Alex, to get the remains of her deceased sister who died under mysterious circumstances on the moon. While on board, there has been some strange and supernatural like occurrences that has frazzled poor Alex. But these occurrences have likewise girded her desire to know more. It has been one interesting and trippy ride.
So begins Issue #4, where Alex is trying to deal with something that she saw within the previous issue, even as the captain denies that he witnessed anything. I am not sure how believable he is at this time. Needles to say, Alex is not too happy or satisfied with the captain’s statements either. She decides to go out a little bit further in trying to get the answers regarding what she has seen and what has been happening regarding a missing passenger, a previous “suicide”, and other strange events. Also, it would appear that the equally strange and mysterious gravity drive is out of whack. It is getting kind of tough out there in cold dark space.
Issue #4 has a lot of flashbacks between Alex and her sister as well as interpersonal thoughts. The dialogues propel the story as Alex discovers some underhandedness going on between a prominent crew member and one of the more shady passengers on board the ship. Alex is likewise having difficulty with her physical being, having intense flashes of her mind that is taking a toll on her physically as well. It is time to report to the medic, but all might not be too well with this option either. All roads are leading to an eventual destination that may be a physical place, or something much more sinister.
Of all the issues, this one appears to be the most surreal. Cloonen does go inside more, addressing the turmoil being felt by Alex as she is trying to figure out the answers. As for Belanger, I am convinced that this guy is having a real fun time in drawing this series. He has created a solid mixture of heavy industrial machinery, dirty and grimy people, and funky crazy visuals as this great unknown is showing itself in weird bursts of some kind of ectoplasmic energy.
All is done superbly with the pages continuing to turn quite easily with an mounting expectation for answers growing with each step taken by Alex. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.
Though this issue has not been my favorite of the series, very little is lost here. The story propels forward. And if anything, I think that a real nasty turn is getting ready to be made. It would seem that this issue may just be the calm before the storm that is going to be unleashed upon Alex and the crew of the Southern Cross. Something mysterious is definitely afoot. And all I can say is bring it on guys. I know that I am ready.