All writing and artwork by: Dan Schaffer
Hi! The Countess here. Let’s jump right into the deep waters, shall we?
We begin this review with WHITE, a new series from FIRST Comics, artwork and written by Dan Schaffer.
Now, I’m a complete shark lover, a fanatic even…JAWS is an all-time favorite movie of mine. So, naturally, just by looking at this cover, it caught my attention IMMEDIATELY!!! Just by looking at the cover you can assume there is a plane crash into the ocean, girl stranded, lots of hungry sharks…yeah, I’m there.
Okay, so story line, here we go…
Okay, so there were five or six people on a plane including our beautiful blonde Production Assistant Willa Hambra, her boss Barbara and a A-List actor named Ryan who obviously had a “thing” with our dear Willa that seems to have gone awry (you know how that goes in Hollywood). And, yes the plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean somewhere far off the coast of California. As the plane goes smashing into the water, it of course gets demolished on impact, I mean, at that speed and that altitude that’s like hitting concrete. So, there’s bodies flying everywhere and plane parts all around sinking, people screaming and then we see it…BLOOD…SHARKS!!!!
Willa, of course freaks out, as I think most people would, as she watches her boss and I assume recent former boy toy/lover get turned into supersized lunch servings right before her eyes as she struggles to pull herself up onto a broken wing of the plane floating nearby. She also sees Ryan’s backpack float by quickly which she knows has his stuff in it, including…wait for it…a SAT phone! She’s saved right?!?!
Now, unfortunately, this is where we are faced with the REALITY of true human intelligence in this world.
Willa, bless her terrified heart, (which let me mention, ALL of this has happened only about five pages in so she’s NOT having a very good day and personally, I think she’s handling it like a trooper thus far), takes out the SAT phone and dials the pre-programmed emergency number. YAY!
The person who answers is not concerned for her safety at all; he wants to know how she got that number, which happens to be a Coast Guard Training Facility in Cape Town in South Africa…a little far from where she’s at no? He then tells her he’s terminating the call, she needs to save battery, he’ll call proper authorities, send your GPS coordinates and basically sit on your broken wing holding your SAT phone and wait for a phone call. Then he hangs up. Helpful yeah?
So, she dials the emergency number again. (At this point I’m thinking two things. 1. Chick needs to conserve that effin’ battery, genius. 2. People are so stupid.) This time the same guy answers and she’s like who’s gonna call, when, what the eff is going on? Are you not the rescue workers to help me?
He tells her your rescue is handled out of Port Elizabeth, let me transfer you (we all know those wretched words of impending doom as we wait to see if the transfer ACTUALLY works)… … …
“Port Elizabeth Marine Center”…are you serious? This poor girl can’t get ANY emergency rescue service people? They inform her yet again, NO Coast Guard, telling her the Navy assists in emergencies…”Is this an emergency?” (Really Bitch???”)
Now keep in mind the whole time she’s messing around with these jackholes on this SAT phone the sharks are circling like hungry predators waiting for the prey to slip into the water. This distracts her just long enough at this moment that she doesn’t answer the twits question fast enough and the Marne Center lady tells her to call the International Emergency Number and hangs up on her. Did she give her that number???
NO. (Chick cannot catch a break.)
Then she gets a call from the main office. She gets the snotty girl in the office no one likes. You know the one, the one who thinks she runs everything because the boss won’t fire her…yeah THAT ONE. This chick is yelling at her to give Ryan his phone back, Willa’s yelling Ryan’s dead and demands to talk to the big boss man, foul language going back and forth, hysterically funny. Then the Boss Boss gets on the phone, yells at Willa about fooling around with Ryan, threatens her job, doesn’t hear a WORD about “I’m crashed and the only survivor in the middle of the Pacific” and then he hangs up on her too. Again, helpful right?
At this point, she seems to have a moment of some type of self-realization because she uses the phone to call her Mom. However, the answering machine picks up. Another feeling of defeat washing over her, a shark bumps into the wing and sends her sliding across from one side to the other. They do this periodically, almost tormenting her, at least in her scared opinion.
Then she gets a call. It’s a woman named Maggie Swatek, a marine biologist on a research vessel near Sydney, Australia. Maggie assures Willa they are informed of her situation and are on their way to her however, to keep her hands and feet out of the water (seriously…one has to be told that when multiple sharks are circling you like you are first prize at a cake walk?) They discuss looking for the life raft that should have been on board the plane, knowing that it should have a flashing beacon type light on it Maggie tells Willa to look in the water for it…but she doesn’t see just one light, she sees many.
When Willa asks Maggie why there are so many lights Maggie reluctantly informs her that they are in fact, shark tags, because Maggie, and her associates, are shark researchers. Now Willa REALLY freaks. She’s thinking the dinner bell has been rung and she’s the only thing left to serve up.
As Maggie is trying to calm her down a shark charges the wing of the plane and takes a strong snap at it. Willa screams thinking the shark is trying to get at her like JAWS eating the Orca but, Maggie explains that it’s a “test bite” and it’s really just being investigatory. (Like that’s really gonna matter to Willa right now.) Also during this conversation, Willa hears some guy in the background talking to Maggie saying, “Tell her the truth”…creepy yeah?
This would be Jay, an associate of Maggie’s, seems to be somewhat of an underling in Maggie’s eyes. But he’s got balls. He swipes the phone from Mags and tells Willa basically, “look, you’re in the middle of what we call The White Shark Café.”. What this is an aggregate area about 1200 miles out from California where seasonally Great White sharks come to gather and feed. And when Willa asks how MANY sharks there are where she is, Jay tells her…a couple hundred. Maggie grabs the phone back from Jay at this point obviously pissed he’s spilled the beans and dejectedly confirms to Willa what he’s told her.
Just as Maggie gives the confirmation, Willa hangs her head in defeat, asks Maggie to lie to her from now on and then…BLAMMM!!!! A shark crashes into the wing of the plane on which she’s seeking her refuge, flinging her helplessly into the water, SAT phone in hand, Maggie on the other end of the line…”Hello? Willa? Are you there?”
Now from the cover to the artwork to the writing, I was down on this from the get go. The fact that there was action and violence, terror and horror and blood, suspense and thrill on the first three pages, as a horror/suspense/thriller fan they got me. The real life stupidity of the average person on the other end of the phone did make me laugh and frustrated at the same time, making me feel like Schaffer is going to be pretty good at making you feel level with the character, Willa. The cliffhanger at the end is always a great way to get me to come back…I’m a sucker for a cliffhanger.
Overall, I was very pleased and I was glad I just happened upon this at the comic book store the other day.