Review: Southern Cross #5

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Publisher: Image Comics
Writer, Cover: Becky Cloonan
Art: Andy Belanger
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Lettering: Serge LaPointe

On the Southern Cross – a cargo vessel headed for Titan – travels young Alex Braith, going there to retrieve the ashes of her sister Amber. Amber’s death happened in suspicious circumstances, so much that her (former) employers sent an investigator, Erin, to find out exactly what happened to her. Alex and Erin, who didn’t really take to each other, share a cabin, but suddenly Erin disappeared. Soon after, Alex saw a ghost. Captain Mori Tetsuya insists that it was only a hallucination, and so does Doctor Lon Wells, but Alex – left alone in the Doctor’s office – manages to watch the tape of an autopsy made by Dr. Wells on a man who had died in the same cabin she is occupying. The Captain ordered the Doctor to rule the death of the man, whose face was ruined by acid, a suicide.

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In issue #4 we saw the Captain discussing with Alex the fact that the latter seemed to have seen, in the gravity drive that powers the Southern Cross, a face calling for help. Meanwhile, we found out that someone had been tampering with the drive itself. Suddenly, something happens that makes Alex really sick; the Doctor gives her some pills, but Alex starts seeing weird things and rebels, hitting the man and running away. She then takes some drug that gives her more hallucinations. But this time she has been looking for them.

This issue #5 opens with the discovery that the Southern Cross, despite having nearly reached Titan, has some issues with its course, as “some force” seems to be dragging it away. Alex breaks into the control room, telling the Captain about some conspiracy the Second Officer seems to be involved in with one Kyril. Also, she feels that the Southern Cross’s gravity drive has been sending some kind of signal all along – a signal that now got an answer.

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Southern Cross is complex, weird, compelling. The atmosphere created, both thanks to what happens in the story and to the art, that represents perfectly the vaguely claustrophobic and artificially lit atmosphere on the Southern Cross, is amazingly realistic despite the events taking place.

At the end of this book we get a hint to the fact that the next issue of Southern Cross might be the last. It is never said openly, but the ship is reaching Titan and in this #5 a lot of stuff has been happening that will require a final closure. If this is the case, if Southern Cross has been planned as a miniseries all along, well… it is a series that will remain memorable.

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