• Dept. H #11

    Dept. H #11
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: February 15th, 2017.
    Written by: Matt Kindt
    Illustrated by: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
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    At this point, Q has made it into the room where Mia and Roger were trapped and figuring they were going to drown. Roger was with him, but Lily is not. He tells Mia that they got ‘split up’ and that ‘she’s involved, she knows something.’ Roger confirms that this was sabotage from the inside. Someone in the group is responsible for the flood, and Mia has to wonder if that same person is the one who killed her father. Roger figures Lily got ahold of the excavation explosives and used those to set all of this off.

    Mia can’t trust anyone at this point, she can only trust the evidence. She leaves the group to go find her helmet camera in hopes that the recording it holds will hold some clues. She’s also exhausted and having trouble sorting all of this out. So many suspects, but so few obvious motives. She does, however, deduce that the explosions did come from the inside and were done one at a time, small sized – in hopes that no one would notice until it was too late.

    She puts on her helmet and heads underwater. Here she has a conversation with a man in a dive suit, his face covered, about what she’s really doing here. We flash back and see Hari quitting the space station project - space was starting to wear on him and he shut the project down. Hari set out to reuse an old oil rig in the Mariana Trench for further research, Raj backed him at every move. Hari’s plan was to use this to get the undersea base back in order. The man in the dive suit asks Mia if she remembers the green hole that her dad was obsessed with. We learn who really got there first and what happened to them when they dove for treasure. Hari went down later not for treasure but for genuine research – and to find the truth about the expedition that preceded his own.

    As Mia seems to be getting closer to the truth about her father’s death, those around her are starting to react in different ways. It’s starting to come to a boil, and by the time you get to the last page of this issue, that boil has turned into an explosion. As Mia dives through the flooded portions of the ship to get to her room and ‘talks’ to the man in the dive suit, we learn a bit more about Hari’s background and about Mia’s as well. We also learn the moral and lesson of the story Hari told Mia that she’s seeing as she dives, and it all ties in to that last page. It’s clever stuff, great writing and it helps to further engage readers in the mystery while at the same time peeling back another layer of the events that pulled Mia six miles below the surface to the ocean’s floor in the first place.

    And of course, the artwork is stunning. Matt Kindt, with coloring work provided by Sharlene Kindt, really goes all out in this issue. There are quite a few full page illustrations here that are just fantastic to look at, the highlight being a great page showing off the oil rig, its reflection on the water serving as some ominous foreshadowing of things to come. The underwater sequences in this issue are really intense looking, beautifully laid out but also really effective in communicating to us just how dangerous a lot of this environment really is –and how alien it is as well.

    Once again this issue also contains some letters pages as well as a few illustrations and rough sketch material from Kindt. Dept. H continues to be one of the most refreshing reads in comics right now, a daringly original storyline that is intent on taking its time to do things right by building a gripping tale around interesting characters and equally interesting situations.