All writing and artwork by: Dan Schaffer
Poor Willa Hambra. Floating aimlessly on a broken plane wing out in the middle of nowhere, trapped by a psychotic, rogue shark named Veronica. She’s still bleeding from the bite in her calf that Veronica gave her. This poor girl can’t seem to catch a break. Let’s see what happens…
She’s curled up on the wing, still talking to Maggie on the SAT phone, crying about how she just knows she’s going to end up Veronica’s dinner.
Worried that she will end up like the other passengers of the plane crash, she quickly spirals downward into semi-hysterics. She’s yelling at Maggie about how their “shark cam” on Veronica’s dorsal fin is going to catch her being turned into shreds of human meat on film and she’s going to turn into a “thrill story” of sorts, being a viral video on some teenage boy’s YouTube channel.
Maggie assures her that she is going to survive this whole ordeal and then, she will be able to put her OWN story out there. There will be people from the Press and all kinds of organizations that will want to talk to her.
Willa gets even more angry and threatens to “out” the whole shark cam experiment, everything she knows and the damage they’ve caused with it. Maggie’s only reply to that is, “I’m counting on it”. (Can this woman get any more arrogant???)
Maggie (who, I will say, I am liking less and less) then starts to explain how there are too many “adrenaline junkies” calling themselves “private researchers” and backed by corporate funding are tagging sharks without any concern for the shark itself OR the repercussions of their actions. She explains that there needs to be more regulations on this kind of research, they need to be stricter and that when Willa’s story gets out, that’ll be what sparks the controversy. (Yay! Who doesn’t want to be the topic of controversy in the scientific community?! My guess would be…Willa?)
Hearing all of this, Willa asks Maggie if she is at all concerned about losing her job once all this gets out and Maggie tells her no, that she can always get another job. This sends Willa into a fit of resentment about Maggie coming from privilege and how she had things so easy and can go get a job at any time. She vehemently points out that life is NOT that easy for HER.
Maggie tries to explain that Willa, at 18, still has many opportunities in her future. This is the point where Willa explains what she was doing on that plane. She got fired for not providing the A-List actor Ryan (now dead from the crash) sexual favors any time he requested. She was fired and put on the first plane back home. She tells Maggie if she wants to study REAL predators, she should study men in Hollywood. (How fitting for the tines right now huh? Interestingly, this issue was published January 2017…before the bulk of the Hollywood news hit.)
Just then. Veronica surfaces again. Maggie tells Willa she can see her on the shark cam. She tells her another smaller shark has entered the area however, he won’t bother Willa because Veronica is there. (Frankly, I think I’d rather deal with a smaller shark that isn’t all pissed off about a camera on it’s back. Maggie’s idea of good news varies dramatically from mine.) Maggie also suggests that IF Willa can get ahold of the camera and yank it off Veronica’s back, she will likely lose interest in her. (Yeah right.)
At that moment, Veronica leaps up through the water, smaller shark in her mouth. She viciously bites this small shark in half and devours it rapidly. Seeing this, Willa is shocked into a calmer state. Staring wide eyed at the animalistic murder happening in front of her, she somberly tells Maggie she doesn’t want to talk to her anymore and hangs up.
Now, alone and feeling utterly hopeless, Willa momentarily contemplates taking her own life by slicing her wrists with one of Veronica’s teeth that got lodged in the wing during a bite attack. Frustration and anger fill her once more and she decides to rebel against her impending doom, screaming at Veronica to go away and leave her alone.
Knowing that her time left on Earth may very well be limited, she uses the SAT phone to call her family to say goodbye. (Does this thing have an eternal battery or something? Geez.) Unfortunately, only her little brother is home to take the call. She doesn’t tell him what’s going on, only that she loves everyone and for him to tell them she called to say that.
Mere seconds after hanging up, Veronica breaks the surface of the ocean, tries to bite the wing again and knocks Willa off by flipping it over. With the SAT phone hanging on her wrist, she quickly swims to a buoy nearby, narrowly escaping Veronica’s ferocious bite as she pulls her feet out of the water.
As she positions herself on the top of the buoy the SAT phone rings. But it’s not Maggie like she expects. It’s some guy named Gregg Weaver, the Captain of the research vessel Maggie is on. Apparently, Maggie had to step away for a while.
And he doesn’t want to help her. This guy is only concerned about whether Willa has spoken to anyone else on that phone…namely, the press. He also worried that she may have the wrong impression of their research, its purposes and the effects of their equipment.
Willa yells at him that it’s their equipment making this shark “nuts” while Gregg maintains it’s the amount of blood and wreckage in the water. He says there is no documented evidence to prove otherwise and his report will only state “facts” such as, blood attracts sharks, and hangs up on Willa.
She’s left on the top of the buoy, hollering into the phone for Gregg to come get her, promising not to tell about the problematic camera.
But no one answers.
I am still really enjoying this story. It keeps you on edge and waiting for the next frame. I love sharks and shark movies and such so again, this is perfect for me. Jaws is a classic horror film in my mind. (But that’s another review.) The artwork continues to amaze as we move through each issue. This whole series reads very quickly and has so much little stuff going on that it is even a good read the second time.
The only thing I have noticed is that this almost seems to be some sort of public service announcement for the protection of sharks during research. It’s kind of like there’s an underlying message in the story. But, that could just be me.
I do think this is s terrific comic book and would recommend it to anyone.