After what feels like far too long, Southern Cross has finally come back. The last issue left us on an incredible cliffhanger, with the Southern Cross crossing into another dimension and Alex being seized by some kind of creature or creatures. It was not an upbeat ending, especially considering that people were about to go looking for her, which meant that they were going to find something they shouldn’t. We start that process, but now on Titan in a Zemi Company refinery, which has enough of its own problems without worrying about monstrosities. All in all, it makes for great reading.
After a few days with no word from the Southern Cross, an oil refinery codenamed Romulus finds an escape pod from the lost ship. In it, they find Kyril, who tells them a version of what happened: Alex Braith went crazy and sabotaged the gravity drive, dooming the ship. But the people there aren’t buying it. They’ve also got serious problems: the Southern Cross was their resupply, they’re running low on food, and the workers are on the verge of a mutiny. The fact that Amber Braith worked at this facility is an uncanny coincidence, and when two investigators start trying to put the pieces together, they realize somebody is willing to kill them to keep this quiet.
I loved the setup of this issue from start to finish. This series’ aesthetic has been strongly rooted in the Alien series, and the issue beginning with the discovery of an escape pod is a nice little homage to Aliens. It also doubles down on that space trucker aesthetic, though the security force vibe might be more accurately pinned down as “Space Hell’s Angels.” The colors for this are also so perfect; it just channels that industrial vibe with a hint of otherworldly orange. I loved the misdirection about who the protagonist of this is going to be, but on that I’m afraid I can’t say more.
There’s also a strong mystery angle to this, which is important because that sense of uncertainty is what drove so much of the first arc. We have a killer, obviously, and finding the killer is a good hook. We as the reader also know that Kyril is lying from the get-go (though it’s worth pointing out that he has a very plausible lie), but what is his endgame? A certain tattoo suggests that he was privy to events on the ship, but after everything that went down on the Southern Cross, it’s almost unbelievable that he would still be going along with their mission. And what about our detective main character, who seems to know the name Braith from a time before Titan? What about Amber, whose body is still lying in Romulus’ morgue?
It’s good to have this series back. It’s just too much fun to look at, and as we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of who these artifacts came from and what they’re doing, we have a lot of solid mystery to dive into. Cheers, Southern Cross.
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Southern Cross #7 Writer: Becky Cloonan Artist: Andy Belanger and Lee Loughridge Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital