"Deep Beyond:" beautiful and disturbing postapocalyptic study with a bit of Bioshock: ADVANCE REVIEW
Writers: Miaka Andolfo and David Goy, Artist: Andrea Broccardo, Colourist: Barbara Nosenzo.
Dr. Pam Bell is stuck inside what looks like a submarine, in the North Atlantic Ocean, near Washington, DC. It’s lost its structural integrity and water is pouring in. Added to that, she’s started growing barnacles all over her skin. Things are not looking good for her as she shouts down an older cv radio her final message of mayday and what to remember her by. The next day we are introduced to our protagonist Dr Paul Bailey, he and a few other hazmat-suited scientists check out what looks to be a massacre, with bodies starting to grow barnacles on them. These incidents are getting more frequent, as their attention then turns to Bailey's lack of knowledge of Dr Bell's status. He visits Bell's wife who runs the B-34 colony, wanting to help in any way he can, but things have started happening to make Dr Bailey question not just the status of Dr Bell, but also who he can trust within the colony.
This was a difficult overview to write, as I didn’t want to go on too long, but also set the scene. As you can tell, there’s a lot of information thrown at us in this first issue. I love the idea and the premise that Miaka Andolfo and David Goy have gone for. A dystopian future where the air and water is full of toxins, so to maintain life, we have built colonies underwater and continued research into finding cures. There’s a large information dump where we get this, plus we are told that the specific colony that we are following cloned 10,000 calves last year with only 5% showing genetic deficiencies. This kind of world building, I find fantastic; it’s a truly immersive experience. Although I do think there’s there’s too much information given to us in the space of one issue. I had to re-read just to remember characters' names. With that said I love the idea, it really reminds me of the first Bioshock game, where civilisation was developed and sustained in underwater “worlds”. I get the sense that this will be similar to the game, with the “horror” of the unknown always around.
The art by Andrea Broccardo is beautiful. Each panel is stunning and I loved how the underwater panels, both inside structures and then within the sea, looked both picturesque and also terrifying. This is realistic to me as it’s how I view the sea and oceans; they are incredibly beautiful, yet also filled with dangers. You could see the most decoratively designed fish majestically floating beside you, then your training kicks in and you remember that it can paralyse you within minutes. To be able to deliver that kind of message with the art, I think is truly masterful.
Overall this was both a hard and yet also enjoyable read. Hard by the fact that I think there’s too much information within the first issue. Yet also enjoyable because of its amazing concept, that’s clearly well thought out. Although I’m definitely invested in the story and the characters, I think this is a hard book to define within a genre. It has elements of action, mystery, adventure, and even horror. However if you’re like me and are open to any book, and you love comprehensive and well thought out stories and worlds, then I think this is going to be a good book for you. I do hope we get less information in the next issue and more of the beautiful undersea art; this to me would make a great continuation into what’s already a very good start for the series.
Deep Beyond #1 will be released 3rd February from your local comic shop as well as comixology