And Then I Read: STORMS AT SEA by Mark Schultz

StormsAtSeaImage © Mark Schultz

This is not a comic, it’s a novella with full-page illustrations similar to the one on the cover on every left-hand page, and text on the others. Mark Schultz excels at both writing and art, and this 80-page 11 by 9 inch hardcover is a fine example of that. I just got it at the San Diego Con, and enjoyed reading it a great deal.

The feel is pulp and noir, with elements of science fiction and monster films like “King Kong” and “The Lost World.” The setting is a near future when energy stores are depleted, and our civilization is failing. Ex-scientist and tough guy Griff is summoned to the laboratory of Arthel Vermund by his daughter Asha, and is soon hearing an almost unbelievable story about who Arthel and Asha really are, and the secret new energy source Arthel was working on. Asha is sure Arthel’s death was no accident, and the story reveals why — a powerful, hidden group of puppet masters for the entire human race called the First Order don’t want Arthel’s discoveries to become known. They’re based on an energy source from a mysterious South Seas island called Pushkara, where the First Order are based, an island with all sorts of monstrous creatures as well as the energy source, itself of biological origin. As Arthel’s body lies on his laboratory floor, Asha reads his notes to Griff, and is herself amazed by parts of them even she didn’t know. Meanwhile, tension builds as we wait for someone else to discover what’s happened, or perhaps to come and finish the job.

This book reads like an introduction to a series, with most of the content a history and explanation of the First Order, and action coming just at the end. Despite that, I was thoroughly drawn into the world Mark Schultz has created, and found both the story and the art very entertaining and satisfying. Hope he gets the chance to do more.

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