Review: Undertow #2

The first issue of this series was met with mixed reviews here on Comic Bastards. I wasn’t alone in liking the issue, but I think I was the most surprised by it; the reason being that I’m not a fan of underwater societies. The general idea is just really illogical and silly when you put any practical thought into it and then you hate yourself for wasting time thinking about practical underwater societies. Well someone did put some practical thought into it and while I don’t think it’s perfect, it’s damn close to being as practical as you can be. In the last issue we meet Redum Anshargal, a myth, a legend, a leader. He’s been cast out of society and as such he’s begun building a new one away from Atlantis. Likeminded people are free to join him on his high-jacked ship, but space is growing thin and so are supplies. The Council on the ship wishes to take permanent anchor and build a society on land. Others don’t think it’s a good idea and feel that they’ll just be making Atlantis on land (foreshadowing?).

Anshargal thinks that settling is possible, just not for them. The children though… yes! He’s taken a small group of men to find the Amphibian, an Atlantean air-breather in the hope of unlocking something to help the kids. Unfortunately the group has found its way into the den of a giant prawn which has taken to dismembering them quickly.

undertow2-coverABack on the ship we meet the council and some other characters while we basically learn the views and personalities of our supporting cast.

The story is a bit all over the place; the weakest part being the time spent at the ship. The characters may give us a view into what’s happening within the group, but it does little more than sprinkle plot points for future issues. It doesn’t drive the plot of the current story forward. The strength of the issue comes from Anshargal and his two remaining men, Kingu and Ukinnu (who narrated the first issue). The three men take turns informing each other as to how they got there, with the slight exception of Anshargal. He tells an aspect of his story, but it can’t nearly be the entire thing. If you remove the back and forth with the ship this issue is actually very good and would have a tight flowing story; perhaps if everything at the ship had been over and done with first it would have been a better story and built the danger that the group of men were facing.

The art has a few hang-ups as well; during the scene with the prawn (I’m fairly certain it was a prawn) it was hard to see what it was doing. Either that or it was so fast that you weren’t meant to see all of its actions. The other thing was that this scene was incredibly dark. Granted the scene is in a pitch dark area, but as the reader we should still be able to tell what’s happening. The way the flashbacks are presented was very unique. Whereas the issue is mostly dark, the past is presented in lighter colors like white and light-blues. It made it easy to understand that it was not the same time line and that’s exactly what you want with a book this stylized.

There’s still a lot of fun and entertainment to be had with this issue; sure there are a few problems, but nothing that makes the book un-readable. This take on the underwater society is interesting because it mirrors the struggles of our own society and how we’re endangering our own future with how we treat the planet. In a lot of ways the water represents our society and the land represents other planets. It’s a fantastic blend of sci-fi and with Redum Anshargal as our guide; it’s going to be a great trip and I for one will be there for it.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Steve Orlando Artist: Artyom Trakhanov Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 3/19/14