3

I think I read this about 3-8 years ago as a book checked out from the library (unfortunately, that was long enough ago that it's not really feasible to check my history). The protagonists were, I think, a married couple off on a romantic honeymoon. Their hotel (bed and breakfast?) is part of a building owned by a doctor or scientist, who has an interest in giant insects (or perhaps other "bug-type" creatures. I have a vivid memory of a giant centipede or millipede). There was also a United States military base on the island, I think taking up a large amount of the island. It might have been officially closed, but still had a military presence to ward people off. Business is bad on the islands, with businesses shuttered, and the natives are a bit hostile (but generally not violent) to the tourists. I remember a scene where the couple are out swimming on the beach and one of the locals urinates on their beach towel. There was at least one murder, maybe more, of a native woman, with the rumor being that she was attached by some local humanoid cryptid with one of the other suspicions being that it's a military experiment. There was some other plot point about a crashed, or grounded, airplane, but I don't remember what it is.

Eventually, the couple wind up breaking into the scientist's lab and find a door to underground tunnels that house mutants, and which open up on other parts of the island. I think the eventual reveal was that the scientist used to work for the military and the mutants resulted from work he'd done with nuclear or chemical weapons, and he was protecting them as a form of penance.

The drawing style was realistic, not cartoony, and either black-and-white or relatively muted in color.

3

Found the right keywords. Jonathan Kellerman's The Web:

After a narrow escape from his burning house, psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware is ready for a relaxing getaway. And revered scientist Dr. Woodrow Wilson Moreland has just the ticket for Alex and his girlfriend, Robin Castagna: an all-expenses-paid vacation to a Pacific island retreat. It won’t all be fun in the sun, however. But helping Dr. Moreland prepare his fascinating case files for publication is business Alex is happy to mix with pleasure.

Unfortunately, pleasure is in short supply on the remote island of Aruk, with its dark history hanging heavy in the tropical air. Though reports of a bloody native uprising and mutants haunting the jungle may be rumors, the brutal, unsolved murder of a young woman is very real. So is the bad vibe Alex and Robin get from a battling pair of married scientists, a scandal-hunting writer, a duo of menacing beach bums, and a politician with a hidden agenda. Not to mention their enigmatic host, a man being eaten alive by secrets. As another savage murder stuns the island, a dangerous storm closes in . . . and so does the conspiracy consuming Aruk like a strangling vine. With no one to trust but each other, Alex and Robin must track down the hellish truth beneath a lost paradise—before the blue Pacific waters run red with more spilled blood.

This review hits just about all of the plot points I remember:

I am a huge fan of comics and graphic novels, but I was disappointed in this one. The Web follows Kellerman’s graphic novel Silent Partner. Dr. Alex Delaware (a psychologist) and his girlfriend, Robin Castagna, have been invited to the island of Aruk by Dr. Moreland. They are to stay for four months at “Knife Castle” to sort through some of the doctor’s mental health data and cases.

Although Robin is able to relax and recuperate there from a previous trauma, they immediately feel threatened and unwelcomed. They find hissing roaches in their bedroom, they meet people associated with murder charges and possible political crimes, and danger stirs when a man “marks his spot” next to Robin’s beach towel. Foreshadowing hints at white worm people, and after following the doctor into an underground hidden room, Alex discovers that they are real and that Dr. Moreland needs more from him then just organizing paperwork: they will need someone to look after them when Dr. Moreland dies.

Plotlines involving the navy base, vaccinations gone wrong, and the future of Aruk make up much of the story. Right from page one, I found the story hard to follow and enjoy because of all the black shadows and heavy lines in the black-and-white illustrations. The text was cramped and small, and mostly dialogue. This story likely reads better in novel form.

The keywords that eventually found me it was graphic novel pacific island mutants. I think I missed it because I kept searching for an Air Force base, not a Navy one.

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