Writers: Mirka Andolfo & David Goy.
Art: Andrea Broccardo.
Colorist: Barbara Nosenzo.
Publisher: Image Comics.
Release Date: February 3, 2021.
This is the first issue of Deep Beyond, a new Sci-Fi, 12-issue comic series created by Mirka Andolfo and David Goy. It centers on a group of scientists trying to save a dystopic Earth devastated by a past outbreak that faces a new threat from below the ocean’s depths. This review will be split into two sections with the first giving a non-spoiler review and the second half will dig into relevant spoilers about the comic.
The comic begins with a woman in an undersea base trying to send out a message only to then transition to this world’s version of a New Year’s Eve party that turns deadly really quick. The comic then presents the main character of Paul Bailey, a meek scientist who is on clean-up duty before receiving news that his former girlfriend, Pam – the woman from the beginning – was part of an undersea expedition that went south and is presumed dead. In the meantime, the comic dedicates a single page to show off its setting with an ad shown in descending horizontal panels. It’s the year 2085, Earth has been covered in mutative toxic gas and humans built massive colonies to survive with cloned animals to boot. The comic takes place in B-34 Colony, one of the supposed better colonies in America.
After that, the comic takes its time to show Paul getting the bad news from Pam’s wife Eve, before showing quick glimpses of Paul and Pam’s relationship. For a while, Paul is grieving before the comic quickly moves the story into action for a little while, drops a revelation on Paul then quickly ends in the middle of an action scene with the promise of more excitement to come.
This issue definitely takes its time to build up the comic’s characters, world, and plot. The comic has plenty going for it and handles introducing its world while leaving some questions & mysteries to explore in later issues. The main strengths are the characters and emotional storytelling here. Paul is okay and follows a moment of the classic hero’s journey; a timid man who initially refused the hero’s call and now wants to go rescue his loved one from danger. But he’s turned down by Eve for rational and emotional reasons and is instead forcibly recruited by Pam’s secret twin sister, Jolene, who’s hinted at being the black sheep of the family. The only potential issue here is if there’s any more family revelations that get overcomplicated or if Paul loses agency in the story.
I do have one major issue with the comic concerning its stakes, which involves the event immediately following Pam’s 2-page introduction. Specifically, the New Year’s Eve party where teenage undercover eco-terrorists called, and I kid you not, Defeatists, somehow overpowered armed military guards and killed the President’s teenage son, Tim. How? By opening shutters to the toxic air which killed everyone inside. Which is immediately followed by Paul’s introduction as he cleans up the party’s aftermath, confirming in the art that the son was killed by showing his dead body.
This event somehow felt bigger than the opening act of Pam’s last words and feels like it should’ve had a bigger impact in the comic’s world at least. But the comic treats it like an afterthought, as if teenage terrorists killing a world leader’s son doesn’t matter as much as rescuing Pam. Perhaps the series will address this event in future issues and there will be an actual payoff. But if there isn’t, then this event didn’t need to be there.
Other than the New Year’s Eve party, this first issue does a good job establishing the story’s emotional stakes and characters while steadily building up its world. The next issue is shaping up to be more action-driven, so readers can expect to see more of this poisoned Earth and its mutant terrors.