Writer: John Lees
Artist: Alex Cormack
Colours: Alex and Ashley Cormack
Letters: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 22nd May 2019
Normally my Editor-in-Chief CEEJ writes the reviews for this series and rightly so, he’s been a champion of SINK since day one. I however, thought I’d be cheeky and write something about this issue because you really, really need to know that SINK doesn’t just have one fan out there, there’s at least two of us and this is a series really worth shouting the praises of from the tenement rooftops.
Issue nine is the second part of the GRAPHITE GREEN arc of the series and it’s an absolutely insane ride. Rohan Hardi (AKA Mr. Dig) is all that stands between the residents of Graphite Green and a group of killers in a battle that has already been described as The Raid meets Running Man (I honestly can’t think of a better comparison).
Where issue eight was a slow build of tension and a real game of spot the threat, both in John Lees’ story and Alex Cormack’s artwork, issue nine is a technicolour explosion of terror, action and gouts of bright arterial blood and fire! This is a story about community, about coming together to protect what is yours, and not expecting someone else to come to your rescue. Yes, the killers are locked in the building with Mr. Dig, but his only priority is the safety of his family, and the rest of the residents will need to come together and pick up the metaphorical mask and shovel themselves if any of them hope to survive the night.
I have spent a significant amount of time boring, bullying, and generally harassing anyone unlikely to call the police about SINK. John Lees and Alex Cormack have, between them, created what I think is one of the best thriller comics I have ever read. The sheer variety and quantity of characters and stories we’ve had so far belies the fact that we’re only nine issues in. Lees has displayed an incredible level of skill when it comes to writing characters that are frighteningly real and relatable, no matter however horrifying they might be.
There is also an intricate weaving of storylines throughout the series, and there’s always the possibility that you’ll meet characters again, and that their stories aren’t over. This is the continuation of Mr Dig’s story, and I actually cheered when I found out what it was going to be. I also cheered when I found out this particular story was going to be a two-partner. As one of the most iconic characters in Sinkhill, Mr. Dig has really deserved the spotlight for a while, and it’s about time we got to see a story dedicated just to him. As I said, there is always a weaving of stories, and the end of the issue brings back a familiar character from issue six, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how/if their story continues.
Alex Cormack is a beast! There’s not really any other way to describe the artwork he produces. It’s dark and dirty and horrifying and terrifying and just superb. I still look at what he did on issue one with a sense of awe because it grabbed me and dragged me into Lees’ story instantly and some of the panels still horrify me.
I recently listened to a commentary on the process behind the first five issues, and his attention to detail in the physical environment he has created is just superb — and that’s before you get to the characters. Cormack does not draw beautiful people; he is a master of the grotesque and horrific, and apart from creating some truly terrifying antagonists, what this does for me is create some fantastically interesting protagonists.
Lees’ stories aren’t cut and dried ‘white hat vs black hat’ tales, and Cormack’s artwork really reinforces this. Mr. Dig is a masterpiece of character design, I genuinely would never have imagined a vigilante wearing a fox mask and using a shovel as his signature weapon but it works so bloody effectively. It’s such a good design that there is a panel on I think page 16 of issue one that is a graphic designer’s wet dream.
Cormack manages to deliver a much grander scale of action and depth of story here than the 24 pages it covers. While the fighting and bloodshed is mostly carried out in confined, claustrophobic spaces and is very tight and taught, there is a real feeling that this is happening over quite an elongated time period and that Mr. Dig and his family have fought an epic battle just to get to the common room — which is where things get really interesting.
There is a running colour theme throughout the series, and if you’ve been paying attention you should know that anything glaringly, obviously red is in some way connected to Si McKirdie. In this blood soaked issue that’s not as easy to spot, but there are some there to find. There’s also a running Easter egg related to Mad Max but I’m going to hold my hands up and admit that I haven’t spotted this one… yet.
As with all the recent issues there’s also a short story at the end. Chap-Door-Run is a single page story by Fraser Campbell, Garry Mac and Shawn Lee that I thought was just brilliant for what it delivers in just eight panels. It’s so short I won’t spoil it for you but it’s a really nasty twist on a childhood prank.
Issue after issue, SINK continues to deliver a staggering level of quality in the storytelling and artwork, and while I’d like to say that each issue gets visibly better, Lees and Cormack have set the bar so high that at this point we’re just arguing over what clarity the diamond is that we’re looking at.
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The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek