Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Comics Review: "SINS OF THE SALTON SEA #4" - We're in the Sh*t Now


STORY: Ed Brisson
ART: C.P. Smith
COLORS: C.P. Smith
LETTERS: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
COVER: Tim Bradstreet
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Jacob Phillips; Chris Ferguson and C.P. Smith
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

Sins of the Salton Sea is a five-issue comic book miniseries from writer Ed Brisson and artist C.P. Smith.  Published by AWA Studios, the series focuses on a professional thief who finds himself protecting lives rather than collecting the money he was promised.  Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou completes the series creative team.

Sins of the Salton Sea introduces Wyatt, a professional thief living off the grid.  His brother, Jasper, convinces him to join his crew for one of those proverbial “last big scores.”  What Walt scores is one human sacrifice and a war among factions of a doomsday cult.

Sins of the Salton Sea #4 opens in Salton Sea, California.  There, Cecil Currier drops some apocalyptic knowledge on Jasper.  And it's either so crazy that it's true, or it's so true that it's too crazy to be credible.  Well, Jasper was probably never too bright, or at least, it seems that way.

Meanwhile, in White Hills, Arizona, the object of Cecil's crazy affection, his son, Silver, decides its time to leave the one man trying to keep him from being the main event at the old Salton Sea revival.  Is anyone else stupid enough... or ignorant enough to off Silver safe haven?

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios' marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  Sins of the Salton Sea #4 is the latest.

I have lost track of how many times I've watched cult-themed movies.  The end-of-the-world, apocalyptic cult movies are as creepy as any other kind of cult movie.  In a previous review, I mentioned M. Night Shyamalan's recent film, Knock at the Cabin (2023), which involves people exhibiting cult-like behavior concerning an apocalyptic scenario.

In Sins of the Salton Sea, writer Ed Brisson brilliant and succinctly captures the craziness at the heart of end-of-the-world cult that demands obedience and essentially blind faith practically the same as organized religions.  Brisson presents a clever balance between deranged purpose and tradition and blind faith.  The Sons of the Salton Sea might be lunatics, but Brisson doesn't allow an easy way out.  What if?...

Artist-colorist C.P. Smith has kept this series grounded in a kind of reality, but gradually his graphical storytelling has turned more fantastical, nightmarish, and surreal.  Smith is denying his readers the high ground of safety and clarity.  I feel like he's forcing me to get in the shit and not simply be a passive observer/reader.  Smith's art makes Cecil Currier seem so convincing.  Yes, I'm disappointed in myself, but what if Cecil is right?...

Faith, fanaticism, perception, cults, and violence (especially the legacy of violence handed down like inheritance in some families): Sins of the Salton Sea is... sinfully good.  Perhaps, your favorite Marvel and DC Comics titles are disappointing, but AWA Studios is delivering instead of disappointing. 

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of action thrillers and of cults and conspiracies will want to try Sins of the Salton Sea.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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