Review – The Ocean Will Take Us #1 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Rich Douek
Artist: Carlos Olivares
Colours: Manuel Puppo
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Release Date: 6th April 2022

Casey is the new kid in school, moving from Honolulu to Almanzar Bay, California. Being the new kid in school has its own horrors, but Casey isn’t looking to just fit in. He wants a place on the swim team, and he thinks he’s got what it takes to be captain. But there’s something odd about the swim team, and there is something dark and evil hiding in the waters around Almazar Bay.

The Ocean Will Take Us could best be described as a ’80s/’90s teen horror movie. It’s reminiscent of films like The Faculty, The Craft, The Lost Boys, and a host of others, but most of all I thought of writer/director Fred Dekker’s work. I’m not sure that younger readers will get the same nostalgia and warmth of familiarity from this series as I got from the first issue, but then I’m now into my late 40s so I’ve a lot of nostalgia to work with.

High School is such a great backdrop for a horror series because high school is so utterly horrific that even the non-horror parts of the story are terrifying. This particular high school is that archetypal horror show we’re used to seeing, from that first day walk through to the introduction of the inevitable Alpha-Jock bullies and their loathsome Queen Bee girlfriends. This is also the story of the school misfits who, while trying to survive high school, will have to face down the bullies, uncover the conspiracies, and defeat the supernatural forces at work in their home town.

Rich Douek is one of my favourite writers in comics. He’s had two titles in my ‘Best Of’ lists in the last two years, and I’m always ready to grab the next title. For me, this sits firmly in the YA market and if I hadn’t seen Rich Douek’s name at the top of the front cover, I’m not convinced I’d have grabbed this off the shelf. However, it is precisely because it is written by Rich Douek that you really need to add this to your pull list. The character development and pacing are really well done (as you’d expect), it’s fun, it’s surprisingly dark in places, and knowing what I know from his previous titles, I can only anticipate this getting a whole lot crazier and darker as we get further into the series.

I’m also a big fan of what Carlos Olivares is doing with the artwork on this series. As I said above, this for me feels very much the YA title, and the character design and world the characters live in reflects that. However, there are some really great moments that reflect both the horrors of high school and the horrors that Rich is dreaming up to plague our antagonists.

This is a great first issue from a great team, and based on the pedigree alone, this is going to become a great series.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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