The Deep: Here Be Dragons

I’m always thrilled to find an enjoyable all-ages family adventure, and The Deep: Here Be Dragons fits the bill.

The Nektons live in a submarine and explore the depths of the sea. When we first meet the kids, the youngest, Ant, is training a fish to fetch, which annoys his sister, Fontaine. This was the scene that won me over, with the humor and authenticity of the family interaction. He’s got the faith of the immature who haven’t yet been beaten down; she’s more cynically adolescent, frustrated by what she sees as wasted time. (You can read this sequence in this set of preview pages.)

In the main plot, the four (mom, dad, brother, sister) are investigating some mysterious happenings after an earthquake in Greenland and monster sightings. Seeing a strong family working together is a rare thing in comics, even if they think Dad’s crazy for hunting dragons. He’s the dreamer, while Mom is the practical one, the pilot (and a bit of a badass when it comes to confronting an obnoxious reporter).

Artist James Brouwer does a great job with the expressiveness of the characters, exaggerating their reactions just enough to make it instantly understandable and easy to read. He’s also good with the mystery and deep blue of the sea, with scene-setting establishing shots that somehow seem immense and quiet all at once. That’s still the last frontier, the most unusual place on earth, so it’s fertile ground for this blend of science fantasy.

Fans of The Incredibles will find a lot to like about this similar setup. Some will particularly appreciate that this family is of black and Asian heritage instead of lily-white. There’s excitement and suspense in this short graphic novel, and the potential for more adventures in the future. We don’t spend enough time with the Nekton family here; I’d like to see them again. You can find out more about them at the book’s website. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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