Review: Undertow #4

Here’s another series that I was able to get an interview done for, but not a review for the issue! Which is a shame because if you missed this issue it was really freaking good. Undertow has impressed me from the beginning and this first arc is looking to finish strong. I always say that with a six arc story the fourth issue is the most important. If you look at it like climbing over a hill the fourth issue sets up the decent and gives you an idea about the ending. I have a good feeling about the ending because of this issue. We begin back on Anshargal’s ship as a search party is being sent out for him because again the society is falling apart with him only having been gone for a few days. Clearly that’s not the issue; it’s just that his absence opens up the possibility for political change on the ship.

Out in the wilderness we meet up with Anshargal and the amphibian whose name we learn is Kishar Gelal. There’s a great scene between the two as Anshargal says he’s surprised he’s alive since he remembers him as a medical student. Kishar calls him a liar saying he remembers his voice from years of experimenting. There’s some threats thrown from both men, but Kishar just laughs in the end and says that Anshargal is funnier now that they’ve killed his wife and child. They finally get down to business, Anshargal wants a blood sample. Kishar agrees, but only if the three men can make a hike up a mountain with him. It’s a strange request, but Anshargal has come too far to leave empty handed.

Meanwhile our hunting parting is closing in on Anshargal’s trail, but they run into Atlantean troops that are also out looking for Anshargal be it for different reasons.

Undertow04_Cover copy 2I really enjoyed the intensity of this issue. The story didn’t stay on the ship for too long and when it was there it felt more relevant to the overall story. Kishar continues to be a crazy asshole, but I can’t wait to see what he does next. He’s really holding the three men’s lives in the palm of his hand and could kill them at any time. Steve Orlando keeps the pacing very tight with this issue and it’s a better issue because of it.

Of course the art is stunning. Artyom Trakhanov has been a breakout talent of the year for me and he continues to shine in this issue. There are so many simple panels that are just gorgeous to look at. The away team to find Anshargal is wearing all white suits and it’s very cool looking. It just makes them look futuristic and common. They don’t look like warriors, which is why when they get into a fight you fear for them instantly. That showdown is an intense scene and the art does a great job of building the intensity.

This may not have turned out to be an ongoing series, but you can beat that it’s going to be one hell of a mini-series. I have to say that I’m really impressed with the story. I never saw myself liking a book about an underwater society, but here it is on my “must read” list every month. If you haven’t checked it out then it’s definitely worth it. It has a wonderful blend of fantasy and sci-fi that any comic fan can enjoy.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Steve Orlando Artist: Artyom Trakhanov Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/21/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital