• Matt Ligeti

DEPT. H, VOL. 1


Writer & Artist: Matt Kindt

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics


WHAT IS IT?

A murder mystery in a deep sea facility. It’s like Chinatown meets The Abyss meets The Cloverfield Paradox.

It feels like the kind of story you’d see take place in a spaceship, but has a larger cast than those lonely, creepy sci-fi thrillers you’re used to. Kindt takes some pains to show how being underwater actually raises the stakes from a more interstellar atmosphere.

There may be some paranormal aspect in subsequent volumes, but everything seems fairly contained within the realm of science for this story so far.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? (Minor Spoilers)

A woman is called to investigate a murder in a deep sea research station. The team is a bunch of familiar faces – people she’s known or worked with for years.

She has a perfect memory, but only gets a one look at the murder scene before trouble strikes, guiding her attention elsewhere. One thing’s for certain: this is more than murder.

It’s sabotage.

Will she be able to figure out who the murderer and saboteur is amidst constant danger and distraction? And will she be able to put the pieces together before the whole station collapses in on itself, taking her and the entire crew with it?

WHAT WORKS?

  • The story is a slow burn, balancing the tension of “now” with reveals of what happened between characters in the past

  • Watercolor is the perfect medium for a story that takes place underwater

  • Defining the depth that the characters are at as a kind of pressure cooker works brings more tension to the tone of the story

  • The main character is a non-white woman – points for not another white guy!

  • Having the ticking clock of impending doom adds urgency and sets a fast pace for the tale to unfold

  • The protagonist’s perfect memory is balanced by her previous trauma and current danger, preventing her from being a Mary Sue

  • The dual use of “Depth”/”Dept. H” is a nice touch, and the water slowly filling up the sidebar of the pages (see the image below) is also really cool to discover

WHAT DOESN'T WORK?

  • There’s a lot of story setup in this volume – the first half can be a slower read

  • While the handwritten lettering helps lend a more intimate, emotional feel, it can be difficult to read for folks following along on their phones

  • If suspenseful murder mysteries aren’t your thing, there’s not much else to keep you invested (at least in this first volume)


WHY SHOULD YOU READ IT?

It’s an interesting story, and I’m excited to see where it’s going. It balances great emotion and heart with action, tension and a story that spans multiple genres.

WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Dept. H, Vol. 2 by Matt Kindt

  • Ether, Vol. 1 by Matt Kindt & David Rubín

  • Black Hammer, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire & Dean Ormston

If you like the art:

  • MIND MGMT, Vol. 1 by Matt Kindt

  • A.D.: After Death by Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire

  • Harrow County, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Matt Kindt – Writer, Artist, Letterer

  • Multitalented: He often does both the art and the story for his comics

  • He lives in the St. Louis area, near a certain charming, comic-reviewing yeti

  • Was just nominated for an Eisner award for Best Writer

Sharlene Kindt – Colors

  • Married to the comics writer, Matt Kindt

  • Watercolor artist who also makes candles (see them at https://www.websterwax.com/)

  • Also worked on parts of another Matt Kindt title, MIND MGMT

HOW DO I BUY IT?

Click one of these:

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Dark Horse Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Dark Horse Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#Kindt #DeptH #DarkHorse #Volume1 #Multitalented #MurderMystery

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©2018 by Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti.