Undertow #1 Review

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Taking the most famous city that never was as their inspiration, creative team Steve Orlando and Artyom Trakhanov launch Undertow #1 this week. And Atlantis might never be the same again.

Here’s the official word from Image:

Atlantis is the world superpower, and Redum Anshargal is its worst enemy. If you want to break free of the system, he can offer you a place at his side, exploring the wild surface world in his watertight city barge The Deliverer. He and his hostage-protege Ukinnu Alal hunt the Amphibian, a legend that could be the key to an air-breathing life on land. But as they become the hunted, can Anshargal’s team survive long enough to turn the tables on the godlike beast they set out for?

Like any premier book Undertow #1 is trying to do a lot of things at once: launch a story, introduce characters, manufacture Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 9.33.07 PMdrama, and establish the stakes. And while some creators take a slower route to get this done writer Steve Orlando doesn’t waste a panel, building one of the most robust universes in the quickest amount of time I’ve seen this year. This is, after all, Atlantis he’s exploring — one of the most mythologically overrated cities EVER — and if Orlando wants his title to survive past novelty he needs to get readers to care about the story that he’s building. Luckily, Orlando is proving himself to be a master storyteller; the narrative is tightly paced, and his twist on Atlantis as a superpower drunk on its own ego is compelling — especially when juxtaposed with the apelike humans who have just learned to forge tools.

The art, provided by Artyom Trakhanov is striking, quirky, and dripping with the kind of unique details that’ll make you want to linger on each page. Of particular note is Undertow’s opening underwater battle sequence which beautifully mixes air bubbles with clouds of blood, creating some of the most stunning panels of the book.

Only one issue in and Undertow has hit the ground running. And I can’t wait to see where it goes next.



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