Writer: Vita Ayala/ Artist: Lisa Sterle / Vault Comics
Submerged is back with its third issue and it’s here to collect your tears.
If you aren’t reading this book, first of all, why are you reading this? Second of all, catch up on the first two issues and then come back so we can talk about this.
You done? Good. Took you long enough. But I was able to work on my water analogies while I waited, so it all worked out in the end.
Submerged #3 takes the emotional conflict to the deep end, and it’s sink or swim time. Elysia is still running rampant in the subway during what’s easily the biggest storm in human history. There’s no sign of Angel, and the lost kid she’s helping out is starting to get a little elusive. Stress levels would already be pretty high but someone, probably the last person working at the MTA, keeps reminding Elysia and by proxy, us, that this flooding is about to get a whole lot worse. Did I mention that El’s flashbacks are increasing? Because that’s happening too, and they hurt my feelings.
The first thing we gotta talk about is this kid. They are not who they say they are no matter how cute they may be. Actually, I don’t think they ever said who they are. There’s a reveal in this issue that teaches us all a lesson about making assumptions. I was genuinely shocked, but in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been. I see what you did there, y’all. And I like it. I think the revelations about who this kid is are gonna have a huge ripple effect into the final issue.
Another thing that’s evolved over the past few issues are the flashbacks. What was once a narrative device that took us into El’s past is now a haunting manifestation that she’s reacting to on the page. This is conveyed beautifully by Sterle and Delladia. The horror on Elysia’s face as she has to relive some of the more harsh moments of her life provide context for where she is mentally and emotionally. And the contrast of colors between present-day Elysia and her flashbacks really drives home the point that your memories can be ghosts that haunt you.
One of my favorite aspects of this story’s three issues are the themes. This book is called Submerged. And if you didn’t think we were gonna take a crash course in the definition of that word when you picked up this comic then you probably stay in the shallow end when you go swimming. But honestly, I’ve really appreciated how evenly that theme has been spread. It’s represented physically, emotionally, mentally, and narratively. In this issue in particular, the flood waters are starting to rise, and Elysia has to swim in some areas of the subway. But also, she’s being drowned in the deep waters of her memories, she’s immersed in a wide range of emotions, but most of all, she’s overcome with guilt.
Submerged #3 provides a hurricane of emotions as our protagonist Elysia must confront and swim through a downpour of horrible memories that stand in the way of her and her lost brother. Ayala, Sterle, Delladia, and Deering are the perfect storm of artists for this story, conveying everything with the heights of their talents. If you aren’t reading this book, put on your wetsuit and swim to your local comic book store to pick it up. And hurry before the ink starts to bleed!
9 Elusive Little Kids out of 10
Reading Submerged? Check out our other reviews here.
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