Writer Tom Taylor has won me over with his consistently great work with INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US, so when his all-ages comic finally hit ComiXology, I simply had to check it out. "Did you just say the writer of the very dark INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US is writing an all-ages book? For real?" I most certainly did, and if you've read the Harley Quinn and Green Arrow team-up issue, then you know Taylor's by no means a one trick pony and doesn't need darkness to thrive. If you've already glanced at the rating (which is incredibly likely), then you know I'm very happy I decided to give this series a shot.
The book has a fairly simple premise: a family of four aquanauts set out to explore the depths of the ocean. In this opening chapter, they aim to prove that dragons do indeed exist. The straightforward plot saves the first issue from being weighed down by too much exposition and instead allows Taylor spend time doing what he does best: making characters incredibly entertaining. This is absolutely critical since we're choosing to invest our time with this specific family, after all. The relationships between family members feel organic and the banter between all of the characters is a real joy to read. They're a totally relatable and likable bunch. This really shines when the siblings argue and the bickering between them is delightfully lighthearted -- it's a great dose of levity and ultimately makes the issue feel like a quick read. "Have faith in my fish!"
Artist James Brouwer does tremendous work creating a super unique world. His illustrations are terrific and lively, giving this world a playful vibe yet he still manages to immerse it in some truly impressive and detailed environments. The coloring then goes above and beyond and brings this cinematic world to life. From lightning cracking across the sky to the soothing looking moon pool, Taylor's writing is complimented extraordinarily well by Brouwer's talented panels. I have a gripe or two, but overall the visuals are fantastic.
The characters have a very distinct look which I really like, but sometimes the distance between Ant's eyes can seem like a bit too much. Additionally, there's one panel towards the conclusion which I thought was somewhat disorienting. It's trying to convey flailing arms, but the image made me feel like I couldn't focus.
If fish have such short memories, why would it follow Ant and not simply swim off when it has the chance? Don't get me wrong, I think it's an adorable companion and has some priceless expressions, but it's something which crossed my mind once they left the Aronnax.
THE DEEP is a success thanks to playful writing and downright stunning art. This first chapter does a more than able job establishing the friendly cast and definitely makes me want to invest my time in their adventures. It's adorably lighthearted and absolutely seems like something people of any age can enjoy. With such a fun vibe, it's no wonder this is being turned into an animated show. If you're looking for a little break from darker and/or more serious material and just want to dip into a more amusing world, you should check out THE DEEP.