Deep Beyond #1 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writers Mirka Andolfo and David Goy, artist Andrea Broccardo, colorist Barbara Nosenzo, and letterer Fabio Amelia. The issue opens with a flooded room filled with bodies and strange tentacles. A lone survivor wades through the water to put in an SOS, only to be met with dead air. The survivor identifies themself as Dr. Bell and takes a moment to reminisce to whoever may be listening before a giant monster attacks.
The scene shifts to a young man named Tim, who is going to a party. He and his bodyguards are stopped at the door, the latter being told to stay outside as he enters. Inside, Tim meets up with the host of the party, who expresses excitement at seeing him. She takes the stage and begins to speak to the crowd about the destructive nature of humanity. As the speech ends, she instructs guards to attack and kill the guests while opening a hatch in the ceiling letting noxious gas in, killing many more. Hope, it seems, is hard to come by in this future, and it will be up to daring scientists and explorers to find something to help humanity continue in its darkest hour.
I was excited to start Deep Beyond #1 after finishing one of Andolfo’s recent works, the gothic horror story Mercy. Together with Goy, she has developed a bleak and, unfortunately, realistic-looking future with this new series. A polluted environment that kills all who breathe the air and gigantic mutated creatures somehow seem more realistic after 2020. That said, the duo’s story is a little difficult to follow. The plotlines are all rather disparate. Connections aren’t obvious until the end, which makes it a confusing read. I appreciate the pace that Andolfo and Goy adopted, but the connective tissue is lacking. As a result, it almost feels like an anthology book where none of the individual stories actually resolve.
The art from Broccardo is quite good. The characters are expressive, and the action is easy to follow and never disorienting. The otherworldly appearances of the creatures outside of the city is effective. Rather than monsters or shapeless blobs, the creatures appear almost plantlike, which is a boon to the story. Had they been more conventional-looking, I think it would have felt less inspired. But seeing tentacles bulging with eyes and thorns is extremely evocative. However, there are times that the characters’ faces are portrayed in a less detailed manner, which I found to be a little distracting.
The colors from Nosenzo are excellent and help keep the art feeling dystopic. One scene where this feels particularly noteworthy is the party. When Tim enters, the palette is all tinged with yellows and gold, as a beautiful scene is shown through windows at the back. As the chaos falls, though, the palette shifts to blue and then green as it is revealed that the “windows” are actually screens. I’m always impressed when colorists can be involved deeply in the storytelling, and I love to see it. The letters from Amelia are solid. The bolded words in bubbles help emphasize the dialogue, which helps it come across more effectively.
Overall, Deep Beyond #1 was a fine first issue, but I can’t say I particularly like it yet. The story feels like it tries to pack too much into twenty-two pages. However, the events that do occur are compelling, and I am interested to see if issue #2 does a better job of bringing everything together. If you’re a fan of sci-fi or Andolfo’s work, then you may find something to like here.
Deep Beyond #1 is available February 3, 2021 wherever comics are sold.
Deep Beyond #1
The story feels like it tries to pack too much into twenty-two pages. However, the events that do occur are compelling, and I am interested to see if issue #2 does a better job of bringing everything together.