Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Review: Dept. H Vol. 1 by M. Kindt et al.

Cool wrap-around cover!

Dept. H Volume 1: Pressure story and art by Matt Kindt, colors by Sharlene Kindt, and letters by Marie Enger

Mia is the daughter of a great scientist and has followed in her father's footsteps. She's followed so closely that her career has been with him as he worked projects for the government. She had a falling out in the recent past but is drawn back into his world when he dies in an underwater base (his latest government-funded venture). The government supervisors suspect foul play, so she goes down to find out who killed him. She gets a lot more than she bargained for as the people and the place itself start falling apart.

The premise is very intriguing. The execution is a bit all over the place. The initial murder mystery drifts into the background of the story as the stations systems fail (or are they sabotaged?) and the characters need to fix things, seal doors, and save stranded people. The story feels more like survival horror than sci fi murder mystery. The ending promises a big reveal in the next book.

The story is told from Mia's perspective, promising a deep dive into the character. She reflects a lot on her history with the characters (she's not the only family member or friend that her dad works with). Her focus on science and using the scientific method is perpetual but not very inspiring or even convincing. Her focus shifts so much that it's hard to think she's as smart as the story is telling us she is. She's a serviceable rather than a great character.

The art is ink and watercolor, an appropriate choice for the underwater nature of the story. It communicates the murkiness of the setting and the mysteriousness of the situation. The art style also makes the flashbacks crystal clear.

Not recommended--I liked the first half of the book but it ran out of steam very quickly after that. The book winds up being very average.

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