(Image Comics, 2014)
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist/Cover A: Artyom Trakhanov
Letter/Designer: Thomas Mauer
Cover B: Aaron Conley
Undertow is back! And I’m so glad it is. I was so happy to see that most of my concerns with Issue #1 have been fixed and we are able to just enjoy the awesomeness that is this comic. For those of you newbies, this comic is awesome because its theme is about freedom (check out my Undertow #1 review). Now, if you remember, reader, with Undertow #1 we talked about what freedom is, and how there is no answer because freedom is different for everyone. Well that is where Undertow #2 picks up – it looks at the different kids of freedoms – and the different sides they bring. The comic is split between two groups. The first group is Zikia (Redum Anshargal’s right hand woman) and the councilmen of the Deliverer (in case you forgot, it’s the name of the flying aquarium they live in). The second group is Ukinnu (our protagonist), Redum Anshargal (the man in charge of the Deliverer), and the group out searching for the mystical creature that can give them the ability to breathe on land. So without further ado, lets take a look at these different ideas of freedom.
The comic starts off with a debate between Zikia and the rest of the councilmen. If you remember, the Deliverer is only supposed to be where everyone lives until they 1) get the ability to breathe on land and 2) find a suitable place to live on land. The debate that is going on is that the councilmen are getting restless and want to find a place to settle. However, according to Zikia, Anshargal isn’t ready for them to settle, and until he is ready, they must keep looking. The debate continues for a bit, and ultimately they all decide to wait until Anshargal returns, and then a decision must be made. After the council leaves, a young woman named Uruku comes out of the shadows and tells Zikia how upset she is that the council spoke ill of Anshargal, and if they are not careful they will take over the ship (hint for things to come maybe?). A little later we see Zikia and Uruku with a few others talking about the settle vs. wander debate. The following conversation is had.
Man 1: These idiots don’t see it’d just be an Atlantis on land? It’ll end up the same way. Shitty.
Man 2: They think they’re taking Atlantis, the idea, and doing it right.
Man 3: The truth is, we’re not made to stay in one place. If a shark doesn’t keep moving, it dies. Atlanteans are the same way. We can try to ignore it but the Deliverer is the closet we’ve been to living right in centuries.
Now if you remember, everyone on the Deliverer left their “utopian” underwater cities because they did not like being told what to do all the time. From this conversation, we get an idea of what different people’s ideas of freedom are. Some feel that having a city life isn’t bad as long as they have more say, where others feel that spending their life wandering is a freedom. Who’s right? Who knows? And as I expected, no answer was given (remember the whole there is no answer to what freedom is conversation?).
Meanwhile, Anshargal, Ukinnu, and the rest of the men get ambushed by a monster, and only Anshargal, Ukinnu, and another young man named Kingu survive. As they make their way back to their ship, Kingu and Ukinnu talk about their life before joining Anshargal and why they did so. In a flashback, we see Ukinnu and his fiancé before he leaves on tour (presumably the one he was on when he decided to join Anshargal). The two of them are talking about how Ukinnu was offered a job with his family’s company, and she thinks he should take it, whereas he thinks he should stay with the army. She says, “It’s your family’s company, you’d be making four times what we do now. What’s wrong with taking what’s yours?” Ukinnu comes back with, “Not how I see it. I want to earn what I get… My hands are too damn clean to feel like a real person. Things do happen outside of the city….this place is a trap.” Again, we see different ideas of freedom. For Ukinnu’s fiancé, it’s living a cushioned life, but for Ukinnu, that kind of life is suffocating. For him, he needs to do something with his life.
I don’t know about you, reader, but I for one am loving this comic. It has a protagonist I can relate to so much – if I didn’t know any better I would think the ideas inside my head were being voiced – and a creative and insightful look on a concept as old as humans. And speaking of the savage race of Undertow, the Issue comes to a close with a promise to look at a whole new kind of freedom – humanity’s.
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Ali is a creative writer with an emphasis on Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Books. She first fell in love with superheroes when they were used to teach her to read. When not practicing at her dojo or out seeing the latest superhero movie with her friends, Ali can be found curled up on the couch with her dog and a good book.