Review: Deep State #1

Conspiracy theories are everywhere in the modern world. There are books, websites and documentaries devoted to the things, and they’re also the subject of this new series from Justin Jordan and BOOM! Studios. The story follows super-secret agent John Harrow as he recruits FBI agent Ms. Branch for the job that will give her the thing she wants most in this world – answers. Why is this mysterious stranger recruiting a random FBI agent? The reasoning behind it is admittedly very flimsy, we’re told that a “ten-billion-dollar program” sifted through her life and told Harrow’s people that she was “the right person for the job.” That sentence is literally the only reason given for these two characters being put together. However, in spite of this initial silliness I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a lot of fun reading this comic. It’s a good time. The first conspiracy our two agents are told to bury is some kind of monster virus from the moon. We’re told that when the USSR landed on the moon (Harrow reveals they were the first to do so), they got a fair bit more than they bargained for as their astronauts were killed by something living up there, and their bodies were never recovered. Guess what? The monster-virus has arrived on Earth, and that is not good news for anyone concerned. There’s something very X-Files about this first issue. I don’t claim to be an expert on that show having only seen a few episodes, but those episodes definitely sprung to mind as I read through this issue, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something that inspired Jordan to write this book.

DeepState01_CVASure you can be nitpicky. The dialogue does border on overly-expository at about halfway through the book. You could also argue that our two main protagonists don’t talk the way that most normal humans do, which makes for some awkward speech here and there. But what this dialogue lacks in realism it makes up for in wit. The awkward lines are totally forgivable, and didn’t stop me getting on-board with these characters. And I can even make my piece with the exposition in this case because the subject matter it’s exploring is just too damn entertaining to complain. I think that’s what I’d say to anyone interested in reading this book. If you’re looking for some hard-hitting sci-fi drama then perhaps this isn’t the one, but if you’re looking for a fun read about aliens from the moon then oh boy is this the book for you.

Jordan wastes no time with this issue as it moves along at a nice pace without ever feeling rushed. Meanwhile the story is brought to life wonderfully by artist Ariela Kristantina who seems perfectly suited to this kind of tale. Her shadowy discussions between Harrow and Branch have a somewhat dark and realistic feel to them, but she’s also able to handle the sci-fi scenes with ease. This book has a great look which – again – I compare to what I saw in those select few episodes of The X-Files. Of course, the colours of Ben Wilsonham also play a big part in giving this book its great look. He uses plenty of dark tones, but isn’t afraid to bust out the bright colours either which give this book a stylish finish that I really enjoyed.

In the end, I don’t have many bad things to say about Deep State #1. I think you could pick apart some of the weaker aspects of the issue – such as the slightly expository dialogue, or how the premise of the book is put together by one flimsy sentence – but in my opinion these really don’t weigh the book down at all. In fact I think that somehow they just make this sci-fi tale more fun. Deep State is not a book that is supposed to be thought about in great depth. It’s a book that wants to take you on an awesome journey of space monsters from the moon and shady government agencies, and I implore you to let it do so. You will not regret it.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Justin Jordan Artist: Ariela Kristantina Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/12/14 Format: Print/Digital