(w) Mirka Andolfo, David Goy (a) Andrea Broccardo (c) Barbara Nosenzo
If tasked to summarize the concept of Deep Beyond, the result would be an exercise in futility. That’s because the creators jam enough ideas for 10 different series into this debut issue, without properly developing any of them. Deep Beyond is the comic equivalent of a “Jack of all trades.” Who is the protagonist? It could be one of several people. What is the main conflict? Well, there are several, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Between Unnatural, Commanders in Crisis, and Mercy, fledgling AranciaStudio has quickly developed a reputation for producing comics with an interesting hook. Sometimes it’s a unique spin on a familiar concept, and sometimes wholly original. But at the very least it’s memorable. Having read Deep Beyond a couple times, it’s still unclear what the concept is. Terrorism in a post-apocalyptic world. Scientific expeditions gone wrong. The bond between twins. These are concepts that make appearances within Deep Beyond, but they aren’t fleshed out ideas. This is a fundamental flaw in this comic that overshadows everything else.
The art from Andrea Broccardo and Barbara Nosenzo is actually pretty great. Though the story itself is difficult to follow, it’s hard to fault them in trying to make sense of a rudderless script. It’s as if they know the script isn’t that good and just try to have fun with it. There is a bright and varied color palette that makes the issue a visual treat. The images are full of detail and expressiveness, and there’s even a fun cameo by the Spawn logo on a child’s shirt, making the world at least feel lived in, even if it’s unclear what’s actually happening.
It’s important for a first issue to be memorable and to have an interesting hook to bring readers back for more. Deep Beyond #1 possesses neither quality. A pretty fantastic job by the art team is squandered on a story with no sense of direction or identity. If you’re on the fence on whether to pick this up… don’t. This was a frustrating experience, made passable thanks to an underserved art team.