Ian Churchill's Marineman #2

Story by
Art by
Ian Churchill
Colors by
Ian Churchill, Alex Sollazzo
Letters by
Richard Starkings
Cover by
Image Comics

The previous issue focused on building the world around Steve Ocean. This issue continues that, but while doing so it also adds a healthy dose of action. The best way to add action to an underwater comic? Sharks, especially great white sharks. Churchill also throws in a heroic ocean dive to save a fallen civilian, giving Ocean a chance to shine while he's away from the television cameras.

Churchill continues to breathe life into Steve Ocean, his friends, and his home in Ocean Point. This issue gives us Ocean Point's restaurant of choice: Peggy's Wheelhouse Bar and Grill. The design of the restaurant, from its façade to the menu header shows just how much thought Churchill has been pouring into this series. Ocean Point might be a real location for all the hard work Churchill has visibly dumped into creating it.

In Ocean's conversation with his new compatriot, Charlotte Greene, Ocean exposes Churchill's platform for this book: information through entertainment. Greene challenges Ocean's choice of career moves. Ocean is a celebrity of Jacques Cousteau, Steve Erwin, Jack Hanna, and Marlin Perkins -- someone who could be perceived as forsaking the science of conservation for a payday. Ocean's quote sums up the motivation of those other four (and many more, I am certain) while making it quite clear that Churchill sees more than a little bit of his own mission statement shine through, "The public at large aren't aware of illegal shark finning or whale hunting or over-fishing. If it's not cute or fluffy, it's not worth worrying about, right? But if I can change minds by 'prancing around on TV' as you put it, then in ten, maybe twenty years there might be a generation that will actually give a [damn]."

I, for one, have enjoyed and appreciated the work of "nature show sell-outs" my entire life, and this is no different. Churchill does a fine job of using that angle to make this book so much more than a knock-off of Aquaman or Sub-Mariner. "Marineman" is a book that holds its own, and looks good doing it.

To this point, this series is upbeat, fun, and, most importantly, entertaining. The art is bubbly and cartoony, but detailed and well planned. Churchill celebrates the fact that this is a comic book by making Steve Ocean an insanely muscular fellow capable of knocking a great white shark off its course with a single blow. It's a great comic that serves the dual purpose of entertaining and illuminating.

Churchill (with a mighty assist from the folks at Comicraft) has done a stunning job of making this comic a complete package. Like the previous issue, this issue has a pair of sketch pages, an article about real-world Oceanauts, and a pin-up. It's a beautiful book, and in my opinion, well worth the cover price. If you missed issue one, this issue does a decent enough job of re-identifying Ocean's world, so you should have no problem getting up to speed quickly. Come on in, the water's fine.

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