PLUNDER #1 Dares to Challenge the Norm in Familiar Waters – Comic Review
Plunder was one of those comics you wouldn’t think would work but kind of does. Swifty Lang takes a group of modern Somali pirates into the realm of horror that one would expect to come from the mind of John Carpenter. It’s a daring concept I’ve never seen before, and kept enough of my interest through to the end.
The narration follows the point of view of Bahdoon, a new recruit of the pirate group he refers to as the Badaadinta Bada (Saviors of the Sea). Through his narrative we are introduced to the other characters, his thoughts are like mental dossiers, which these guys are mostly a crew of hardened off-putting individuals. As the plot progresses, Bahdoon’s character arc quickly takes shape. His inner monologue filled with ambition quickly turns to regret. Add a few ominous tentacles for tension, and it keeps me interested. The story begins as if it would be a slightly slow burn, but that changes quickly. The bit of characterization also happens with so much speed I don’t care much for the characters. Being limited to four issues is probably the cause of this. However, the story beats worked well, setting up a situation which culminates to shit hitting the fan. And who doesn’t love it when shit hits the fan?
When the crew boards the desolate U.S. Seeker, this is when I got to see artist Skuds McKinley‘s greatest strength. The dude is skilled at illustrating the macabre, quite unsettling. McKinley’s talent to burn an image into my brain definitely piques my interest to read more issues. The spectacle is hard to ignore. Even though McKinley’s art style doesn’t necessarily strike me, his detail with gore and asymmetrical panel layouts have its place with this story. Toss in Jason Wordie‘s drab colors, which complete the tone of the book, and you have a tale that you know won’t end well.
I would imagine Plunder #1 would benefit a bit more by being longer than a four-issue miniseries. Short blurbs about characters, banter, and bullying don’t make these characters interesting for me. The short exposure to their relationship makes death less impactful, but his could totally change in issue two. Although, having these pirates face an unknown threat is still entertaining enough to experience, and I wonder who will come out alive. Plunder should resonate with horror fans, and I have to applaud the creative team for their cast of characters. A bold choice rarely explored in the horror genre.
Published by Archaia/BOOM! Studios
Written by Swifty Lang
Illustrated by Skuds McKinley
Colors by Jason Wordie
Letters by Deron Bennett