Writer: John Lees
Artist: Alex Cormack
Release Date: 28th March 2018
Emma Callaghan’s dog Snowy has gone missing. A worrying enough situation at the best of times, but an absolutely terrifying prospect when you happen to live in Sinkhill.
The concluding issue (for now, at least) of ComixTribe’s SINK – a series of loosely connected stories set in the same fictional Glasgow suburb – sees us following Emma as she ventures into the darkest depths of the Sinkhill underworld to try and discover the fate of her canine companion.
As the tone and style of the series to this point might suggest, things don’t go particularly smoothly for her, but without venturing into the realm of spoilers I can confirm that Lees and Cormack manage to shock, surprise and outrage us here before ending things with an unexpected amount of feels.
We also get to finally meet the almost mythical gangland figure Si McKirdie – a character who has been referenced heavily throughout the first four issues of the series – in a face-to-face setting, with Lees using an impressively restrained approach in bringing the character to life. While we’ve seen more than our fair share of lunatics in the series so far, one thing a lot of us will have learned from real life is that it’s the quiet ones that you really need to look out for, and Lees adds a chilling undercurrent of menace to McKirdie’s words and demeanour that go a long way towards justifying his “big bad” status.
On the visual side of things, it’s safe to say that Alex Cormack can pretty much do no wrong by this point, although he reins in the crimson for the most part here to let the faces of his characters do the bulk of the heavy lifting. Yes, there are some genuinely disturbing visual moments along the way – including an absolute belter near the end of the issue where one particular lowlife gets his comeuppance – but this is perhaps the most restrained we’ve seen Cormack since issue two, and the story is all the better for it.
That said, it’s definitely not the strongest issue in the series so far, and suffers as a result of the (perhaps unrealistically) high expectations the four previous issues have generated. It’s still a great read though, and the final pages do an impressive job of summing up the ethos of not just the series, but of the city of Glasgow itself.
While horror and violence are certainly recurring themes throughout the series, Lees and Cormack deserve all the credit in the world for managing to deliver five tonally unique stories all tied together in the same geographical area. Natives of Scotland – Glasgow in particular – will likely get a lot more out of this series than other readers due to their familiarity with a lot of the different character types, although there’s still something universal about the way an ice-cold gangland hard-man or a van full of killer clowns makes us feel.
Following on the heels of the likes of Oxymoron and And Then Emily Was Gone, I’m ready to call SINK Lees’ best work to date, with the Glasgow native tailoring the story beautifully to his own strengths as a writer. Likewise, Cormack’s art has never looked better than it does here, and while some of the more exuberant aspects may need to be toned down a little, there’s absolutely no reason this guy shouldn’t be drawing big-two comics on a weekly basis by now.
Highest of recommendations for this series yet again, and if you’ve somehow missed out on the first four issues, make sure to pick up the collected trade paperback when it goes on sale later this year.
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