Southern Cross #2 details the second day of main character Alex Braith’s five day journey to the planet Titan. Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger have kept the overarching story close to the chest, giving readers only the smallest hints at the mysteries of their universe.
Alex wakes up on the second morning to find that her roommate, Erin Mckenna, has disappeared. At first, she doesn’t think anything of it. She reasons that her roommate is avoiding her, just as Alex had avoided her the day before. However, as time goes on her absence grows more suspicious. Her clothes are laid out in her bed as though Erin had melted out of them, leaving a distinct impression on the mattress. What’s more is that nobody seems concerned that the Zemi investigator has gone missing.
Though this issue has some very slow pacing, there’s a lot happening in these pages. Cloonan takes us through the full day, emphasizing even mundane moments and using them to flesh out her narrative. That being said, Alex herself is still something of an enigma. She’s tough, but there’s a softness to her that is slowly being expanded. The mystery of her past plays a big role in keeping her a compelling character. Unfortunately, there are some issues with the dialogue being a bit too repetitive in the book. Anytime Alex meets a character she’s ran into before, she’ll say “it’s *character’s name* right?” By the third occurrence, it feels stale and takes away from the story.
Once again, Belanger’s work on the book shines. I’m consistently impressed with his mastery of scale, going from large swaths of space to the cramped corridors of the Southern Cross. The layouts in the book are incredible and do a lot to set this book apart from similar stories on the shelves. Colorist Lee Loughridge does a great job of conveying tone in the panels. The colors are muted for the most part, setting up the last page reveal as something truly chilling.
Southern Cross #2 is not a perfect book, but the story remains a fascinating blend of science fiction and horror elements no fan should miss out on. Cloonan and Belanger are crafting an enticing mystery and the art alone should be enough to sell anybody on this series.