Book Review: Ocean by Ellis and Sprouse

Big Budget sci-fi movie as a comic book? Damn Skippy! Warren Ellis and Chris Sprouse pull off a masterpiece in their epic “Ocean” and that’s why it’s this week’s pick!

Written by Warren Ellis, Art by Chris Sprouse

A “hundred years from today” a research facility in orbit around Europa discovers thousands of coffins deep in the frozen ocean, each one containing a humanoid race in suspended animation. To make it even more extraordinary, they also found a weapon of unimaginable power smack in the center of them. They call back to their parent command, the United Nations, and they send one guy: Weapons Inspector Nathan Kane. Why send only one guy instead of an entire team of researchers and inspectors and scientists and God knows who else? Because when that one guy is Nathan Kane, that’s all you need to send. Guy’s a bad ass.

The story revolves around the sarcophogi, the weapon, and the fight over then between the UN and the Doors Corporation (a thinly veiled pass at Windows, with all that implies). The plucky crew of the research station “Cold Harbor” and UN Inspector Kane square off against a rogue district manager and his cybernetic drones. To top it all off, the aliens in the ocean are waking up and powering up their weapon — the same weapon that turned Mars from a paradise to a wasteland. It’s good stuff, and given the cost of movie tickets these days, a better bang for your buck than most entertainment alternatives.

It’s no secret I’m a big Warren Ellis fan, but I’ve never been a huge fan-boy to anyone, not even Warren. He’s written a lot of great books, and he’s written several that I didn’t like. Usually his stuff’s one time, but occasionally (cough! Anna Mercury! cough!) he runs a little off schedule. What I like about him the most is he dreams big, writes big, and does it with a cinematic flair, which I really like. Ocean is no exception. Booklist hailed it as “an ambitions, big-budget sf film” and I agree. In addition, it also made iO9’s top ten for Warren Ellis books. Ocean is an exceptional sci-fi story filled with Ellis’ usual wit, double entendres, and exceptional action sequences. The usage of station physics in the combat scenes during the last issue are flat out awesome — creative, believable, and perfectly executed.

Chris Sprouse provides spectacular artwork this time around. When Chris first came onto the scene lo so many years ago, I have to admit I didn’t really care for his style. He executed it perfectly, I just didn’t’ like it. But as the years have gone by, either he’s matured or I have ad now he’s one of my favorites. I think the turning point for me was when he started doing Tom Strong with Alan Moore — it just all clicked, and since then I’ve been following (and buying) his stuff much more often. I don’t think it’s any exaggeration on my part to say that Ocean is his best work to date. He just really knocked this one out of the park. The man is good at sci-fi, what can I say?

Ocean is a great sci-fi tale worth your time and, at $13 on Amazon, it’s worth your money. If you’re not satisfied with movies lately, go ahead and pick up this cinematic comic here: Ocean

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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