Sink #1 slashed its way into stores back in September, hot off the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign and a smattering of positive pre-release reviews. Created by writer John Lees and artist Alex Cormack, the brutal mashup of The Warriors and “The Most Dangerous Game” generated a ton of well-deserved hype and decimated the supply of copies offered by small press indie publisher ComixTribe seemingly overnight. The first issue kicked off the series with a shocking introduction to the fictitious Glasgow neighborhood of Sinkhill and drew upon actual Scottish urban legend to craft a gruesomely riveting cautionary tale against walking home at night through the wrong part of town.
Mr. Dig and the merry band of clowns were certainly a barrel of fun, but, as it turns out, Sink is a horror anthology of stories tied together through their shared setting. So issue two focuses on a new character, Sharon, who serves as Sinkhill’s version of Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolf. Called into the suburbs by an unassuming middle-class couple to clean up the unfortunate byproduct of a rent-boy encounter gone violently awry, the book follows Sharon’s meandering journey through Sinkhill.
Even considering that a meathook high-five would have a good chance of being less grisly than Sink #1, the second issue is notably tamer in comparison. The horrors of Sharon’s narrative are definitely more cerebral, and the book contemplates a question that goes deeper than, “should I avoid this suspicious blue van?” Sink #2 doesn’t feature any of the jaw-dropping page turns of the first, but it nonetheless manages to ratchet up the dread as the story shambles along. Lees takes advantage of the creeping unease to subvert the reader’s expectations in a few different ways. Between a foreboding encounter turned hilariously innocent and an eerily revelatory dream sequence, the story never quite heads down the path you’d expect it to.
Cormack’s art solidifies the book’s depraved tone, and he makes fantastic use of light and shadow throughout. Most of the book takes place outdoors at night, and Cormack uses the temperature and palette of a variety of light sources (a campfire, head and tail lights, the moon) to establish the mood of a given scene. Even while frequently obscured by darkness, the characters’ expressive faces capture their suffering, hope, and despair. Sharon’s bright, piercing green eyes in particular reveal much of her inner turmoil as the story progresses — making her face in the final few panels, with eyes completely shrouded in shadow, that much more chilling. And much like the first issue, Cormack’s rich blood-reds spill over the panel borders and flood the gutters, immediately commanding your attention on a page.
Lees and Cormack have shown a great deal of versatility across only two issues, managing to spin two markedly different horror yarns that feel unified not only though setting but also through tone. As a horror lover, Sink has quickly moved its way to the top of my pull list, and I can’t wait to see what this superstar creative team comes up with next for the nightmarish neighborhood of Sinkhill. 5/5
(W) John Lees (CA) Ryan Lee (A/CA) Alex Cormack