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Group Review – Deep Gravity #1 (Dark Horse)

25975 - CopyPublisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Richardson, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko
Artist: Fernando Baldó
Release Date: 30th July 2014


Ross Says…

It’s perhaps because we’re a little bit spoiled for choice when it comes to great sci-comics these days – this month alone we’ve got at least three great, established titles, as well as a pretty fantastic new one – that this, the tale of a team of humans being stationed on a far-fetched, hostile planet, feels a little bit light-weight.

The script feels like – and likely was, given the credits – it was designed by committee, and doesn’t spend any time beyond a couple of paragraphs on the inside of the cover giving a vague overview of what we can expect. The character’s motivations are either hazy or generic, and they feel like they’re just doing things because it seems like something that people on an extraterrestrial planet would do, rather than having firm motivations for it.

There are a couple of neat ideas in here – the notion that animals and plants are a distinction that only matters on Earth is an interesting one, and the art does a good job of making the creatures shown feel like the could be classified as either; and it also does a decent job of giving the story a scruffy, lived-in feel.

But overall, this doesn’t really engage on anything other than a peripheral level, and the cliff-hanger at the end could as well be the end of the story, and I’d not really be that upset. It could get more interesting as it progresses, but for now, skippable.

Rating: 2/5.


Dean Says…

When we think of Sci-Fi we almost immediately think of Star Trek or Star Wars with rarely anything new seeping through the cracks, but can you really blame us? They pretty much set the foundation for all Sci-Fi stories to come, and because of that it becomes harder and harder to create a fresh, new Sci-Fi adventure.

On the surface, Deep Gravity offers an interesting concept and story but quickly falls into Sci-Fi clichés and tropes. As you continue to read on can’t help but get the feeling that you’ve read this story before, and that’s precisely because Deep Gravity is essentially a three-way mix of Star Trek, Avatar and Prometheus. Isn’t it great when a comic reminds you of something you could be watching instead?

With all that in mind it’s time to play Sci-Fi Bingo!

– Hostile Alien planet dangerous for humans to survive in. Check
– Command gold uniform for space crew. Check
– Cryogenic sleep used to transport subjects on three year space journey. Check
– Government funding used to mine the planet of natural resources. Check. That’s a bingo!

The point I’m making is that that Deep Gravity is nothing original. It borrows ideas and tropes and keeps things generic and simple. The main character is dull and his motivation is not strong enough for us to become emotionally invested in. Also, the overall plot feels decidedly weak.

We’ve all heard the saying don’t judge a book by its cover, but we rarely look at it from the other side. And that is, don’t think that a comic is going to be good simply because the title reminds you of an episode of Futurama.

Rating: 2/5.


Martin Says…

Right from Gabriel Hardman’s cover, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that Deep Gravity was just trying too hard. Relying heavily on tried and tester elements, this first issue feels like a box ticking exercise in writing for generic action sci-fi, and reads like a love letter to James Cameron, emitting a strong Aliens/Avatar vibe. It features a crew of engineers and technicians visiting a harsh and punishing alien environment, populated by hostile life forms that secrete an acid-like toxic substance. And it’s all funded by a shadowy mega-corporation seeking maximum profit, and who clearly see the crew as an expendable asset. Sound familiar?

Although these are ideas are not original, given a strong narrative and believable, fully rounded protagonist at it’s heart, there is no reason it can’t work, right? Unfortunately, we are saddled with a main character whose motivations are bordering on lunacy. Giving up a more lucrative position in the company, he has undertaken a six year round trip to see the woman he was previously in a relationship with, having no idea if she’ll speak to him let alone get back together with him. Rather than opting to go into hyper-sleep, he chose to stay awake for the duration of the trip, presumably to ‘think things over.’ Man, this is one tortured dude! It’s difficult to invest in such a character, and the supporting cast fair no better.

On a positive note, the artwork in general is pretty strong, particularly the animal/plant/sea creature design, but unfortunately art is only half the battle in creating memorable comics. There are some great sci-fi books out there at the moment (I’m looking at you Low!); you’re money might be better spent elsewhere.

Rating: 2/5.

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