Mia continues the investigation into her father’s murder, as well as her search for a potential mole seeking to sabotage the deep-sea laboratory in Matt Kindt’s Dept. H #3.
Set in an underwater research facility six miles below the surface of the ocean, Mia is sent by the head of Underwater Science Exploration and Research (USEAR) to investigate a suspicious death – that of her father – and everyone within the facility is a suspect, including her brother Raj.
Dept. H #3 begins with Mia who, after being rescued from a fall off a deep-sea shelf that has damaged her pressure suit, returns to the underwater lab seeking help to go back out and look for Raj, who is feared injured (or worse) at the “hands” of a giant squid. Before departing the lab, however, she and Lilly, Mia’s former friend who begrudgingly volunteers to help (and whom Mia suspects may have been manipulating her father to further her own agenda), are forced to abandon their plans to help save the lab from imminent disaster.
Writer and artist Matt Kindt, whose previous works include Mind MGMT and Pistol Whip, among others, beautifully blends style and substance in Dept. H, as the story is thrillingly entertaining, face-paced and, at times, surprisingly emotional. Kindt’s artistic style plays beautifully with the underwater environment as the heavier lines and the rough-around-the-edges artwork reminds the reader that the story takes place far from the refinements and luxuries found in the civilized world on the surface.
Colorist Sharlene Kindt (Matt’s wife), who is a successful artist in her own right, adds an extra layer of depth (no pun intended) to the story visually through her use of watercolors, which are both apt for this title and offer a uniquely stunning visual representation not often realized in the comic book industry.
Flashbacks are colored in grayscale and the scenes inside the research facility are dark and claustrophobic…which helps to build the sense of confinement and pressure that one would understandably feel residing on the ocean’s floor. The addition of a water meter on the edges of the pages, which rises a level each issue (and presumably predicts 24 issues total for the series?), serves to add to these feelings of confinement and pressure as it also eludes to the rising water levels within the research facility itself.
Dept. H #3 is both visually impressive and an entertaining read. The story itself is unique, fast-paced and wholly enjoyable. Matt Kindt’s rough artistic style lends well to a series set in a rough and inhospitable environment, while Sharlene Kindt’s coloring, dark and confining, emphasizes to the reader that the story occurs deep within the ocean’s abyss.
- Entertaining and compelling storytelling
- Beautifully and uniquely colored
- A fast-paced, “whodunnit” style mystery adventure
- Artwork is somewhat rough around the edges (though it tends to add an element to this title that might detract from others)