Comic Vine Review


Undertow #5 - Part 5: One Day as a Lion Review


Imagine how you'd react if you saw a mammoth. Now think about how you'd feel if your normal home was the ocean.

The Good

UNDERTOW has been evolving in a captivating fashion since Issue #1; since we were introduced to this particular flavor of Atlantis, various twists and clever details -- from political intrigue to the watersuits designed for surface missions to the mysterious nature of The Amphibian -- have emerged at just the right moments. This is a world that feels rich and active, and I've been delighted by the surface-level adventure as much as the dastardly politics below.

Artyom Trakhanov's illustrations have been one of the highlights of this series for me, and I'm really enjoying watching this story unfold. Now that we're seeing more sequences on land -- especially when these panels are side-by-side with undersea panels -- the contrast in coloring styles is that much more apparent. There's some really great mirroring that Trakhanov is doing, too, and it's really driving things home.

The narrative is unfolding in two parts -- surface and sea -- and there's an extremely well-paced exchange in action moments between them. As tension slowly boils below, things get violent above, and vice versa -- it keeps the story rolling at all times. Steve Orlando has been very thoughtful with the timelines, and I think it will play out especially well in collected form. (Speaking of which -- we're one issue away from the close of the series, and I think it's landing at exactly the right precipice.)

The Bad

The unboxed captioning is still difficult to read at times. I'm of two minds on this, because the consistency factor means it'll look better in trade, but…readability.

The Verdict

UNDERTOW is one of those series that probably isn't being read by enough people; it's beautifully-executed and truly unique in concept. Orlando and Trakhanov have interpreted Atlantis -- and the surface world -- in a clever and fresh manner, and while the world itself is interesting and Atlantean, it doesn't get in the way of the very human conflict at the heart of the story. If you've been waffling on whether to pick up this miniseries: yes.