Undertow #1 / Z-View

Undertow is an on-going series created by Steve Orlando & Artyom Trakhanov published by Image.

Writer: Steve Orlando

Artist: Artyom Trakhanov

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?

The Pitch: ”Hey, the world needs a comic set in Atlantis featuring a fully developed world from issue one, with a story that expects a lot from the readers, doesn’t dumb things down and features art smart enough to match the story.”

“Let’s do it!”

The Tagline:  “You can die right here or be reborn.”

The Overview: Ukinnu Alal was an Atlantean born to privilege.  Growing up, Alal‘s potential friends had to be vetted before he could even meet them,  Alal attended the best private schools. Upon graduation his marriage to a trophy wife and office job were pre-determined and waiting.  It wasn’t until Alal joined the military that he was truly free.

We meet Alal in the middle of a terrible undersea battle against soldiers led by Redum Anshargal. Anshargal‘s troops are brutally slaughtering Alal’s Atlantean soldiers. Alal faces certain death.  Anshargal appears and offers  Alal a chance not only to live but to join Anshargal in a quest to break free from the yoke of Atlantis and explore the world above.

*** Beware – minor spoilers are found below ***

The Good

  • Trakhanov‘s cover (shown above).
  • We are dumped into a foreign world that is fully developed.  We are strangers in a strange land and understanding may not come easily at first.
  • Orlando‘s story is dense and doesn’t dumb down for readers.  This isn’t a comic one can read in five minutes.
  • The artwork created by Trakhanov is very good.

The Bad:

  • This isn’t a comic one can read in five minutes.  Some readers won’t like working for their story.
  • The coloring is hit or miss.  Sometimes it is spot on and at other times makes the lettering hard to read or overpowers the linework.

The Ugly:

  • Going to battle against Redum Anshargal.

I liked Undertow and have a feeling that it is going to just get better and better with each new issue.  I want to know more about Redum Anshargal‘s back story.  It will be interesting to learn why Ukinnu Alal was allowed to live and more importantly why Anshargal has brought him into his inner circle.

Rating: 3 out of 5