Steve Orlando shifts into a steadier pacing current this month as the land mission makes a huge development, and the crew aboard The Deliverer become even more uneasy. The machinations of a political thriller with the makings of an action book, told through the eyes of an impressionable and idealistic youth make for another must have chapter of “Undertow.”
Steve Orlando has crafted a story around larger than life characters. Redum has opened up Ukinnu’s world and he’s out being intrepid on the surface. He has a rosy idealism that we start to see chip away. He’s in over his head. So enter The Amphibian.
The Amphibian is a unique beast. He is vile and assertive. He has taken control and keeps rule with an iron fist of insanity. It’s hard to tell what his ultimate role in the story will be. His introduction took me by complete surprise, as I didn’t expect him to be such an unruly figure. He’s a creature who thrives on death and destruction. Not exactly the best fit for the team right now.
In any event, he’s now part of the story, and will only make the predicament on The Deliverer more complicated. There is a lot of talk about whether or not Redum is fit to lead the excursion anymore, but this is a lot of idealistic bullshit that doesn’t understand the true perils of standing up to Atlantis. The new leadership will fall to error, and it will be as quickly as its risen here.
Artyom Trakhanov has something about his style that comics really haven’t seen before. It’s so beautifully unique and expressive. The pastel colors evoke a sense of otherworldly warmth that is contrasted with a murky sea of death on the ground. Which, is honestly some of the best work this comic has ever produced. There is something brutally appealing about these Atlantians ripping through humans. Trakhanov even reminds us how fragile our warriors are in a single panel. The sharp stone clinking against the glass dome helmet actually sent shivers down my spine. Way to close to total destruction…
There is a panel near the end of The Amphibian’s introduction that labels him as “The God of Death.” It’s a roundabout way of telling us we’ve entered a whole new world here. The surface is relatively under control, but the new ally might be too volatile to control. Orlando and Trakhanov deal with many complicated themes in “Undertow.” They spend this month slowly developing them through their characters and the book becomes all the better for it. This is another stellar chapter of the best new series of the year.