Readers might have a twinge of motion sickness from how fast we're launched into the plot, but the originality of the story and Gieni's stellar art give me few reservations about recommending this comic. I complain about pages containing stacked horizontal panels all the time: if the plot is moving fast enough for the story to maintain a good pace, pages with stacked horizontal panels often feel too disconnected. When things are connected, some creators fail to take advantage of the potential for repetition and humor, and grind the pace to a halt all to lazily convey a sense of cinematic grandeur, or something.
Now go read the first page of Negative Space #2. I'll wait.
That's a proper use of horizontal panels. You get repetition: the nordic shield is present in all four shots. You get pacing: the captions are concise, limited to part of the page, and are essentially an in-world elevator pitch for the series. You get wonderful art: Gieni's art is showcased in all four landscape panels. And, you get a bonus: the first panel starts on the surface of the ocean, and by the bottom panel, you're at the ocean floor.
That's how you take advantage of the fact that you're telling a story within the page of a comic.
Gieni and Lindsay consistently do things like this. There is a lot of care put into these pages. Negative Space never treats you like a dumbass, but has been constructed so that even when things are moving briskly, the story information is there, and it's damn fun to look at.
My only complaint is sort of a half-complaint. At the end of issue one, we stepped through the threshold into this strange emotional rollercoaster replete with pink-tentacled bottom-feeders jonesing for schadenfreude. Once we get to issue two, the story gets in gear, and we're off on an adventure. Compared to the slow, depressing-but-beautiful drip of the first issue, this is a fucking whirlwind, and it's a tad jarring.
Again, however, this is a half-complaint specifically because this is exactly what the events of this issue feel like for Guy. He was trudging along, having his life ruined, coming to life realizations, drinking way too much goddamn caffeine, and then WHAM! Time to keep the whole world from living a lie by bombing some shit underwater, come on, let's go!
I can't think of another book where the art is this unique and aesthetically pleasing but also this effective at keeping the narrative moving from page to page without any starts or stops.
And I absolutely LOVE that Beta is wearing that jacket.