Challenger Deep #1 (Boom! Studios)
by Andrew Cosby, Andy Schmidt & Chee
Boom! Studios offers up another one of its movies on paper. This first issue of Challenger Deep follows the formula for a disaster/rescue/apocalypse movie pretty closely; there are a number of familiar scenes. Some might find the book to be too formulaic, and others still might be put off by the feeling that this is more of a movie pitch than a comic-book story. I have to admit, though, that I was entertained. I’d watch this movie, and better still, I enjoyed this big-screen-style story in comic-book form. It’s a safe bet this limited series will serve as an other-media pitch, but the creators have put some solid storytelling into it. It stands up well on its own as a comic. The first episode predictably is all about setting up the premise and introducing the cast of characters. I did enjoy the action on the stricken submarine, though. While we’re introduced to the hero up above who’s supposed to save the day, the sailors on the trapped sub aren’t relegated to the damsel-in-distress role. The real drama is the unimaginable and hopeless circumstances on that submarine, not the rescue mission, and I’m pleased to see the writers didn’t ignore those characters.
While the plot and characters are somewhat cliched, the art stands out as the greatest strength of the book. Chee has refined his work for this project. There’s a greater depth to be found in this effort. Chee brings a hazy, airy look to the visuals. His usual simpler style is easily recognizable, but there seems to be an added level of texture as well. He’s aided in his efforts by colorist Andrew Dalhouse, whose glowing colors reinforce the unusual, dream-like atmosphere that dominates this adventure-crisis plot. Chee also employs shadow to great effect to drive home the melodrama. 7/10