Comics like Dept. H fill me with deep, painful ambivalence and lethargy. I thought about trying to scrape up some polite nothings together into the semblance of a positive review, but then I read another book that reminded me how engaging and enjoyable good comics can be. And, as I found very little to enjoy in Dept. H #2, I am left to conclude that it is not good comics. Frankly I was bored enough reading the issue that I am dreading having to revisit it in detail as I write the rest of this review. In fact, I am sorely tempted to just stall for time by talking about about unrelated things. Frankly, I feel like the world could stand to know more about my current lack of dating life (I blame comics) or my addiction to pizza (I blame comics for this too...for some reason). Actually, an in depth look at my life would probably be the only thing duller than an in depth look at Dept. H, so I might as well go that route, but know this, someday the world will know more about my evenings spent alone watching the Celebrity Name game while downing Totino's pepperoni pizza rolls and crying softly about the state of my life. Anyhow, Dept. H is about a crew of as of yet characterless mooks that pilot a dingy, ominous submarine in a murky undersea wonderland. Also, as of this issue, they used to be astronauts. Actually, let's talk about the astronaut’s subplot for a moment. As far as I can tell it wasn't referenced in issue one, doesn't shed much new light on the characters, and doesn't have any meaningful relation to the plot. I have enough respect for author Matt Kindt that I assume it will eventually have some relevancy but it felt like filler here (although, most everything felt like filler).
The story is a murder mystery but I can't find any semblance of emotional stakes at the moment. This issue focuses on the relationship between the main character and her brother, but there's no hint of a relationship between the two. Likely the intent is to portray an estranged relationship but instead they come off as strangers interacting and not particularly compelling ones.
I complained in my review of issue one that the murder mystery aspect of the story feels over familiar and safe, and that impression continues here. This issue see the radio tower the crew relies on destroyed, making the characters even more isolated in their undersea crime scene. It feels, in fact, identical to that scene in every modern horror film where the characters realize they have no cell service and are trapped with a maniac, ghost, demon, or dead Japanese girl (any of which would make this a more exciting read).
Towards the end of the issue things do pick up a little in the form of a giant squid, but by that point, I'm a little past caring. I can't remember the last time I wasn't compelled to read more of something that promised giant tentacle filled action, but at the end of Dept. H #2, I knew I would not be back for a third try. And there you have it, a perfectly passable review of Dept. H. Thanks everybody, we got through it together. Join us next time, where instead of reviewing the new issue, I detail my favorite frozen foods, and how they can almost replace my need for human interaction.
[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Dept. H #2 Writers: Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt Artist: Matt Kindt Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/18/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital