Pushing into unknown territory is never easy. The excitement of discovery comes hand in hand with the dangers of loss. For the crew of The Deliverer the ideals of settlement are contested while the small crew on land comes to terms with the dangers of being intrepid in another layered and stellar issue of “Undertow.”
Our history is one of a settled people. We grow up learning of the trails and tribulations that go with sailing to new lands and the choice to buck the status quo and follow a leader into a new and dangerous world that comes with it. So watching the Atlantian people go through the motions of such a journey provides an incredibly interesting lens on science fiction.
Aboard the Deliverer we’re treated to a more robust feature for the supporting characters. Civil unrest starts to spread. So naturally debates arise about the best course of action. On land Ukinnu follows Anshargal into the abyss. We’re treated to a whole host of dangers, and the relationships of the characters are deepened through survival.
Amongst all this Orlando takes time to focus on certain character beats that go a long way to expanding what we know about our leading men. Both Ukinnu and Ashargal have flashbacks. These sequences take place in a time long before we met them on the pages of issue #1. Each manages to take the respective character in a new and different direction while still informing what we knew about them previously. It serves to balance the pacing of the A and B stories perfectly.
Trakhanov’s art is still absolutely breathtaking. His colors wash over the panels in a way that emotionally compliments Orlando’s script. The colors are vibrant and engaging during the action scenes and literally make everything pop off the page. Stylistically the inserts used to break up large panels help convey the character’s feelings in hectic moments. While the flashbacks have their own style and tone. Everything in the execution shows a creative team that’s found its perfect groove.
What happens on these pages doesn’t throw the story forward with the same raging current of the first, however, the issue revels in smaller moments finding its focus on character and world building. The effort is solid throughout and manages to convey all sorts of unique information pertaining to this strange new world.
The relationships between the characters are now more complex and layered. Everyone’s motivations aren’t entirely clear and idealistic clash is very close on the horizon. For a book chock full of new ideas, it’s the old ones that prove most interesting in the second issue. A flawed but driven leader, an ambitious newcomer, and the dangers of being frontiersmen prove most engaging. These elements along with the exciting final page will have you dying of anticipation until April.
Rating 4.5/5 Skulls.