Let's think about the big picture for a second.
The ocean that we swim in is home to over 230,000 different forms of life. Each one of those life forms has an individual history. Every year, thousands more are discovered as we venture deeper into the mysteries that the ocean has to offer.
It comes as no surprise that it's this unknown element of the planet that we live in, that has inspired countless creative minds over the course of human history.
With literature, we have Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, and HP Lovecraft. In films, we have The Abyss, Deep Star Six, Jaws, Leviathan, and Deep Rising.
There also seems to have been a recent surge in the comics industry based around the wonders of the sea, with The Wake, Great Pacific, Gestalt Comics' The Deep, and now Undertow.
During a battle, Ukinnu encounters this Redum figure and is promptly taken away from the battle to become his 2IC. After coming to the realisation that he is far from what the Atlantean government has portrayed him to be, Ukinnu joins Redum on a mission to find The Amphibian; a creature that possesses the key to living safely on land.
In most cases, the first issue of an ongoing series based on a new concept (especially fantasy concepts) can very easily get bogged down with the writer trying too soon to relay to us the reasons why the world is the way it is, or why the characters are the way they are.
Steve Orlando has created a thrilling and thickly layered story without having to leave too much excess on the side. We are thrust into the culture of Atlantis without so much as a few paragraphs to explain its nature. Orlando's version of Atlantis is very vivid in my mind, and I haven't even been introduced to it visually yet.
The art by Artyom Trakhanov is beyond sensational. It has this colourful old school quality that just sucks you in to the page, dunking you right into the water with the characters. On land, Trakhanov has created what seems to be a perpetual murky sunset, giving the impression that even though land is brighter than the darkness of the ocean, it's still not perfect.
I could go on about the fact that this story seems to be set way WAY before the fall of Atlantis, and that this cannot make sense historically even though it is just fantasy. The truth is, I simply couldn't care less. I had so much fun reading it and I feel that Team Orlando/Trakhanov have got a surefire winner on their hands with this project. Image has yet again smashed it with another awesome read.
Undertow - much like Snyder/Murphy's The Wake - uses high adventure and a pulpy mentality, which stems not only from the greats of Sci-Fi literature, but from the films of legendary directors like James Cameron, and George P Cosmatos (he's a legend, don't challenge me). Perhaps even more so, Undertow raises questions about our history and our place in it. Just as JFK once said:
"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came."