Well it looks like this series has turned into a mini-series which is a shame because it has the potential for a larger story. This issue in particular is in my opinion the best issue thus far. The series has become a story told in three parts and each part serves its role in developing the world. The first part is in the past and based in Atlantis and talks about Redum Anshargal’s uprising and the leaderships attempt at killing him failing over and over. They devise a new plan to send men after him, but we’re not shown who the men are. Another part of the story comes from the ship that Anshargal’s freed people live and how they’ve grown impatient waiting from him to return. I will admit that this aspect is the weakest of the story and I kind of wish they’d all die. I hate to say it that cold and harsh, but the dude is out there trying to find a way for them to settle on land like they all seem to want and yet they can’t wait two days? That’s kind of bullshit if you ask me. At any rate it shows the parallel and differences between the two societies.
The last part is the most interesting part and thankfully it takes up most of this issue as Anshargal and his two remaining crew members are searching for the Amphibian. Before they could find him though they ran into some humans that seem hell-bent on killing them, but just as things seem most desperate the Amphibian shows up and saves them.
He’s a brutal man who resembles an albino Atlantean in some ways. After saving them he takes them prisoner and leads them back to his camp which is filthy and depraved. The people worship him like a god, but as one of them says he butchers them for his entertainment and they praise him for it.
The reason I’m so bummed that this series is just a mini-series now is that I don’t know where Steve Orlando is going with the story. It’s so rare for me to find a story that I can’t catch a glimpse of where it’s heading that when I find one, I cling to it. Orlando is building a huge world and I’m fairly certain that his story is bigger than the one he’ll be able to tell. Hopefully the response for this series will grow and maybe it can fight its way back to an ongoing or at least a second series.
When you deal with Atlantis and underwater societies the take is usually something similar to what the big two have done. The last series I remember trying something different was Fathom when they introduced the blue and the grey (maybe the black?). It was essentially two races of people and that spiced it up a bit.
With Undertow it isn’t said, but rather shown with Artyom Trakhanov’s artwork. There are clearly different races of Atlanteans and it’s one of the reasons I like this story more than others that have blazed the same trail.
Trakhanov’s thick line work gives the world a brutal underdeveloped look and yet we see so much technology with the Atlanteans. In particular I enjoy his fight scenes as they are very brutal, but there is something awe-inspiring about them. When the Amphibian arrives he strikes a man down with his bare hand. It’s a clear display of his strength, but wouldn’t be nearly as awesome of a statement without Trakhanov’s artwork.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this series from the beginning and I for one will be sticking it out until the end. Hopefully the team has a decent ending to the arc already plotted, but from what I’ve seen I’m not too worried that they won’t work something out. If you blew this series off thinking it was just another underwater society doing underwater stuff, well you were wrong. You were very wrong.
Writer: Steve Orlando Artist: Artyom Trakhanov Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 4/23/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital