• Dept. H #2

    Dept. H #2
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: May 18th, 2016.
    Written by: Matt Kindt
    Illustrated by: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
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    Picking up where the first issue left off, the second issue of Matt and Sharlene Kindt’s Dept. H opens with a splash page that provides some details about the ‘colossal squid’ in which we see, to scale, a comparison showing the difference in size between a human being and only one of the creature’s limbs.

    We flash back to the inside of a space station. Here, Raj is going about plucking the small plants being grown, muttering to himself that ‘nothing is alive out here.’ He argues with Mia about this but the fight is broken up by their father before it can get too heated.

    In the present, we cut to the Dept. H base way down on the floor of the ocean. Mia pulls Raj away from the others to talk to him. He says their father wasn’t murdered, it was an accident, but Mia has evidence that says otherwise. As the lights flicker around them, Mia tells her brother she’s starting to question why he keeps denying that their father’s death was murder. Bob interrupts them, the comm link that allows them to stay in touch with the surface is out. Raj is to go out and fix it. Mia doesn’t think this is a coincidence and so she decides to suit up and accompany him.

    The communication tower will not be easy to fix. Raj says a whale bumped into it but Mia thinks it was sabotaged by someone who knows the place really well, possibly better than anyone else. She doesn’t forget thee things and has the schematics committed to memory. Raj takes her to an undersea cave where their father built the backup generators, to show her why her father ‘fell in love’ at the bottom of the sea.

    We flash back, once again, to the space station. Here Raj, Mia and their father talk amongst themselves about giving up the space expedition and starting over with the deep sea project. They’ve found no signs of extra-terrestrial life despite their best efforts. Mia wants to keep at it, Raj shuts her down.

    Cut back to the two diving deeper into the cave… something is wrong.

    This issue concentrates on one thing and that’s developing the conflict that exists between Mia and her older brother. The flashbacks to their time on the space station establish the history that exists between them and in these scenes Matt Kindt does a great job of letting us in on the reasons she might resent him without beating us over the head with it. The story rewards those who pay attention to detail, putting us into Mia’s head in a few scenes so that we can empathize with her on these issues, while at the same time, leaving room for us to doubt her. The mystery here is far from over and clearly there are a lot more details yet to uncover – has she really got his all figured out? No way.

    The art is, once again, fantastic. A few of the full page illustrations in this issue are startlingly beautiful (suitable for framing!) and Kindt’s unusual style suits the story beautifully. The coloring work from Sharlene Kindt jives flawlessly with the illustrations and the last few pages? Without spoiling things… they’re breathtaking, horrifying and gorgeous all at the same time. And on top of that, as promised in the first issue, we get a couple of pages of sketches – this time showing off early work roughing out the layout of the undersea headquarters and a character page for Raj. Great stuff. This series is off to an excellent start.