After spending so much time architecting the new DC Universe, Grant Morrison seems to have needed some “me time”. For Morrison, it doesn’t get much more “me” than Sea Guy. As the cover proclaims, this is the “long awaited return” of the comic and character that baffled and amused vertigo fans a few years ago.
Some might say “trippy”, “bizarre”, “surreal, or “messed-up” and they could all make their case, but the the term I would use is “dream like”. You know when you wake from a dream that was so absurd that you are embarrassed that you did not realize it was a dream? How could you not know? Well, that is because your dream brain just takes what it is given and rolls on to the next thing. That is how you have to read Sea Guy. Just take it a face value and move in to the next thing. If you can do this, the book becomes eerie, and hauntingly sad. It perfectly captures the sense you often find in dreams of “this is not right. this is not how thing should be”. Through the central action of the story, Sea Guy is repeatedly sidetracked from his stated goal. He is compelled by some sense of purpose, but he can not recall just what he was meant to do, or be. We, as readers, are far more lost than our amiable protagonist. Not much of what happens makes sense in a realistic way. What we do know for sure is just what we get an intuitive sense of. Whatever is going on, whatever Sea Guy is doing, things are NOT as they are meant to be. Sea Guy is a likable character, and his actions, though strange, are linear and follow a certain trajectory through his bizarre world. This is just enough stable footing to lead through the story.
What did not work:
Well, if this was intended to be clear and linear, then it flopped pretty hard on its face. But, I seriously doubt that this was intended to be a straight-forward story. Sea Guy’s amiable sincerity was enough to pull me through the vast suspensions of disbelief. I am sure, however, that are many readers in the world who need something a bit more firm to bring a story home. This book is clearly not for everyone. In fact, that may be the only thing CLEAR about it. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I would only recommend it if you are really willing to let a comic take you on a very strange ride.