Review – Deep Beyond #2 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Mirka Andolfo, David Goy
Artwork: Andrea Broccardo
Colourist: Barbara Nosenzo
Lettering: Fabio Amelia
Release Date: 10th March 2021

In the year 2085, the world has changed beyond recognition. A series of cataclysmic events in the year 2000 have rendered the Earth almost uninhabitable, with the remnants of humanity living in sealed colonies to keep them safe from a hostile, invasive environment, and the monsters that inhabit it. Some people join expedition projects, looking for answers to the contagion that transforms every living thing it touches into the ravening monsters that have taken over the world. Others however are intent on destroying the last vestiges of safety, believing that safety humanity has eked out is undeserved, and that we still need to atone for the destruction wrought upon the planet, and these people are known as “defeatists.”

Post-apocalyptic setting. Crazed cults. Conspiracies. Shadowy government organisations. Desperate life or death missions to save humanity. Lovecraftian monsters. There is so much that should work in this series, but – for me, at least – it just falls short.

Everything about this series should tick all the boxes for me. This is exactly the sort of story that, based on the blurb, I would pick up off a shelf, but honestly, this is not a new story and it isn’t breaking any new ground, and I found myself feeling a little short-changed as a result.

I desperately want to like Mirka Andolfo’s work. I was a big fan of Unnatural, and I really like her art, but I never feel any real tension in her stories, and this is a story that really, really needs some tension. There’s always a feeling (for me) that she’s playing it safe, playing to a YA audience and shying away from really committing to the horror of the story, whereas I personally think the stories would really benefit from her just cutting loose, getting a whole lot darker and embracing the genre.

I may be being overly harsh, hypercritical even, but there is a huge wealth of talent out there producing stories in this genre who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries. Certainly over the last two decades there have been some definitive post-apocalyptic/Lovecraftian titles going back to the early days of the B.P.R.D. as an example, but more recently, titles such as Resonance, Abbysal Albion, No One’s Rose, and even Scott Snyder’s Nocterra that debuted last week, have all explored these themes, and with much greater depth and impact in their opening issues.

There are some good designs in the artwork, and they fit the tone of the story, but the cartoony style, which is very clean and bright, only helps to nudge out any tension that might be built in the narrative. I can’t criticise the quality of the artwork too much, it’s actually quite good, and as I said, it does fit the tone of the story, I’d just have liked to see more depth and darkness, something with more of an edge to it.

There are the bones of a good story here, and Andolfo certainly has the talent to write it, but I’d love to see her take that step away from that PG13 safety net.

Rating: 2.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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