Archaia/Boom Studios 2015
Created by Trevor Crafts, Matthew Daley & Bruce Boxleitner
Written by Matthew Daley & Maighread Scott
Illustrated by Carlos Magno
Coloured by Chris Blythe
Wow i’m in love with the concept here, Carlos’ interiors bring me so much joy and happiness to behold and just the complete atmosphere and feeling you get when you finish the issue let’s you know that this was something special and we don’t get that as often as we’d like to anymore. Sander has made his way on board narrowly missing being caught outright and was left with the real Captain Orlin’s wife and child.
With it only being issue three it’s too soon for Sander to have been caught and sent packing already and the exchange with Orlin’s wife however is very telling. She’s an interesting woman this Terna and it would appear the special arrangements she made with the late Captain kept her out of the depths and have given her and her son a better life, in some ways. In others it would appear she’s better off with Sander in the role so long as he can keep up the charade.
I like that we learn more about how the other half lives here, the commissary for instance serves the same food he gets below only here he gets far more of it. It would seem that the guard aren’t that far above him in regards to status and that they really only enforce the will of those they serve and not enjoy their lifestyle. Though they have some perks they seem to be cut more out a mercenary cloth than anything else.
He’s still not out of the woods yet however as Mr. Belm has arrived and is talking to his wife about how they first met and would love to hear his version of it. He knows that Sander is an imposter but isn’t able to outright prove it yet. These simple power struggle games he’s playing is his way of forcing Sander to mess up only he is completely aware that Terna is in this with him at the moment. The grandstanding we see is part of the reason there is such a schism in the social castes here and is a clear reason why Terna is willing to help him out. This was a great way to give us some powerful characterization and motives which should be applauded.
Sander is sent on a suicide mission not expected to return. It seems the guard really aren’t seen in a light much better than we was in his old life. Expendable pieces on the game board easy to recruit other willing young men to raise themselves from the depths. I do like seeing the change in Sanders thinking here and the fact that he’s able to get out of this alive after having to leave his team to their fate and returning to Terna who is as surprised as he is that he’s back. What happens then is only going to get him deeper into the guard and is he really prepared for that?
I love how this issue ends whether by happenstance or through guile and manipulation Sanders life is never going to be the same again after whatever happens next issue. It’s rather exciting really and the way this has all been told, through the pacing, story development, character interactions and the interior artwork this book is pretty darn powerfully done.