Page 45 Review by Stephen
Dive deep, swim fast!
"Now the creature, the noise it's making, it sounds a lot like a section of the whale's song that's urgent, a section that comes right before a response."
"What kind of response?"
"A massive response. Because the creature isn't talking to us. It's talking to them."
At which point Sean Murphy will send the mother of all shivers up your spine
Sub-aquatic, ice-cold horror from the writer of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, SEVERED, BATMAN: BLACK MIRROR, and the glorious, gawp-worthy writer/artist of PUNK ROCK JESUS, JOE THE BARBARIAN and HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS.
200 years in the future: a wet-suited woman glides over the narrow waterways between what were once dry-land skyscrapers, one of which is leaning precariously. A dolphin harnessed with sonic and survey equipment surfaces from the water lapping gently against a brownstone's roof. And then there's another tidal wave!
Now: marine biologist Lee Archer - sacked from NOAA and on the Department of Homeland Security's shit-list for her marine biology conservation - is contacted by Agent Cruz and coerced into flying to Alaska's South Slope to analyze an eerie, underwater call they cannot explain. Base camp is thousands of feet below sea level:
"Jesus, what is that?"
"It's called a Ghost Rig. It's a prototype. Yes, it's a secret. No, it's not legal. But it has the potential to extract nearly two hundred barrels a day, so there it is."
Lee discovers she is not alone. There's Dr. Marin, successfully published professor of folklore and mythology summoned to study an 'artefact', and the enigmatic yet supremely capable Leonard Meeks - an infamous poacher of very rare species - to study tissue samples. He looks like a vulture. And where do you think these sounds and tissue samples are coming from? Oh dear, that's never a good idea
On one level this is classic Doctor Who: illegal and environmentally disastrous strip-mining of Earth's natural resources while invading the home territory of an ancient and previously undiscovered species. Exacerbate situation by capturing a creature and then belatedly bring in the experts before all hell breaks loose in a half-lit and confined environment, in this case flooded with water. It won't help that the Merman sprays hallucinogenic toxins from glands in its eye sacks.
But wait! That's just the first half. In part two we swoop to the future 200 years later which has borne the brunt - the repercussions - of the first half's actions, and the world has surely changed in so many ways. Rarely have I encountered a future so thoroughly thought-through by its writer with some genuine shockers in store. This graphic novel is so much bigger and so much more brilliant than it appears on the sea's choppy surface.
For a start, it is all about eyes: what we perceive and what we persuade others to perceive. And it's all about ears: what we hear and that which we desperately hope will be listened to.
It stretches back thousands, nay millions of years. There is a key sequence involving the hunting of a giant white shark (maybe a Megalodon) by hundreds with spears just like we used to hunt mammoths; and they actually use a downed mammoth as bait.
On the surface this is a beyond-worrying horror story, yes: it will make you go "Brrrrrrr!" But it will also make you think.
Now, what is a Raindrop?
"It means the real-life referent that inspires a system of folklore. The raindrop hits the water, and concentric rings of lore spread from the point of impact. Like the Asiatic Bear in Tibet, its habit of walking on its hind legs. Now that inspired legends of Yetis.
"There's no telling how many legends this creature inspired. From the Mermaids of Assyria, to the Sirens of Greece, with that call it's making."
The call that goes out to millions.