An interesting mix of science fiction and post-apocalyptic tropes, this two volume series is set in an alternate history timeline that ponders what would have happened if Y2K had actually shut down all technology and civilization had to rebuild alongside world governments’ secret dealings with an alien race from the other side of a portal deep in the ocean.
The first volume tells the story of Eve and Paul, who reluctantly work together after years apart to search for Pam, who is missing after embarking on a scientific mission under her politician wife’s purview. Eve is Pam’s twin sister. She has a feeling that Pam is still alive and waiting to be rescued. Paul is Pam’s ex and is kidnapped and forced to join the rescue mission led by Eve. Outside the colony’s bubbled atmosphere, a contagion corrupts and mutates any living material it encounters, making it extremely difficult to travel long distances or explore uninhabited spaces. The crew manages to make it to Pam’s last known location deep under the ocean without being devoured, succumbing to the contagion, or running out of air. Upon arrival, they find more questions than answers and journey beyond the portal to escape the consequences of their decisions. There, they find themselves face to face with an alien race they didn’t know existed.
In the second volume, Eve and Paul discover that time moves differently on the other side of the portal (years pass by in what is just minutes on Earth) and that although Pam made it through, she died many years ago. They also uncover a rebellion brewing among some of the aliens, who want to change the arrangement with humans and their government.
This was a fascinating look at what could have caused Y2K and the possible fallout; however, it felt like too many ideas squished together that didn’t make sense and muddied the actual story. The most confusing part about this story is the time traveling and the alien race. Neither is explained or defined well in either volume. I didn’t understand the aliens’ motivations or day to day life or really how they came to an understanding with Earth’s various governments. It was also hard to see much development in any of the secondary characters due to the high rate of new world building content being added in each issue/chapter. If the story had focused on character development and either the alien storyline or the Y2K post-apocalypse storyline, it might have been more cohesive overall.
The story is still a good read and suitable for high school readers and up. The full color, detailed art matches the serious tone of the overall story while adding vibrant color to the things most changed from the real world. The art does not shy away from showing body horror to convey just how badly humans can be affected by the contagion (think massive piles of warts and disfigured body parts) or on page sex (it’s not extensive but definitely there). There is also the trigger for anyone who dislikes the running out of breathable air trope as that is a constant theme both underwater and anytime the characters leave a domed area.
I think this two volume series would do well in a teen or adult graphic novel collection or in a collection that focuses on alternate histories or horror. Anyone looking for art created by Mirka Andolfo will be disappointed that she only provided alternative covers and not interior illustration.
Deep Beyond Vol. 1 & 2
By David Goy, Mirka Andolfo,
Art by Andrea Broccardo
Publisher Age Rating: T+
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)