Marineman Issue 1

By Roger

Ian Churchill’s “Marineman” started very recently. As of this writing, it is only up to issue 4, however during that brief time, it has managed to impress a lot of folks, including the judges who decided to give the series a nomination for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the Best New Series category. Last year’s winner in the same category was “Chew“, also published by Image Comics. “Marineman” has some very large shoes to fill if it intends to win.

Some people may recognize Churchill’s work from The Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, Superman, The Coven, Deadpool, Supergirl, Hulk or Elephantmen. The man is an insanely talented illustrator. What some may not realize is that he is also a very good writer. Thanks to the new creator-owned craze, we are getting to see just that in “Marineman“, a comic that has been in the making for quite a few years.

Issue 1 begins with a suspenseful prologue that sets the audience up for what to expect. Basically, reading between the panels, you are told that something exciting (and dangerous) lurks below the surface.

Once the prologue is done, you are introduced to Steve ‘Marineman’ Ocean. And what an introduction that is…

Churchill’s art style is perfectly suited to this series. I read this issue full-screen on my 27″ iMac and with every turn of the page, I was amazed at the artwork. The colors are bright, lively, and the shadows perfectly suited to every scene; whether out in the sun, underwarter, or in the gallery of the aquarium.

Steve Ocean is, as his father late describes him, a walking tree. Churchill’s over-the-top style works well with Steve, who is mass of muscles complete with wavy blond hair and a permanent, winning smile. Steve hosts a marine show entitled, ‘Ocean Encounters’. He travels the world and brings his knowledge of marine life to the masses by means of his television show.

This first issue contains a lot of character and plot setups. We are introduced to his business partner, Jake, who is Steve’s underwater cameraman and good friend. We also get to meet Steve’s father, however not before you discover that there will be a lot more beneath the surface of this series than you’d first expected.

Deep below the Marine Research building is a vast cavern which originally belonged to the famed pirate; Captain ‘Flintlock’ Farrell. A hundred or so years later, the US Navy seized it and converted it into a hidden base which they call; Marine Base Alpha.

Here, Steve’s father has been working on an mini-submarine prototype that can be used for deep-sea exploration. The issue’s last panel introduces yet another key character, Lieutenant Charlotte Greene, a highly recommended pilot who will test the sub.

Marineman” issue 1 is exceptionally well written. Without resorting to superhero hijinks, Churchill creates an intelligent, yet suspenseful first issue that sucks you in. Some may be a little put off by the mass of dialogue, especially in terms of marine facts, however I found it quite informative and felt it helped forward the story.

I am quite disappointed that Ian Churchill was not also nominated for Best Writer/Artist. There may be a reason for that which I’m not aware of, however looking at the current list of nominees in that category, Churchill would definitely be a contender.

That said, having read the next three issues in this series, I can say with certainty that I am very glad it has been nominated for Best New Series, and I wish it good luck. Expect more individual issue reviews soon, as I have been loving every single one.

Ian Churchill’s “Marineman”
Image Comics
Story: Ian Churchill
Art: Ian Churchill, Nicolas Chapuis

After a 25 year absence from comic books, Roger has returned, thanks in no small part to the iPad.

1 Comment

  1. […] and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo/DC) iZombie, by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred (Vertigo/DC) Marineman, by Ian Churchill (Image) Morning Glories, by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma (Shadowline/Image) […]

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