The Plunge #1 – Joe Hill, Writer; Stuart Immonen, Dan McDaid, Artists; Dave Stewart, John Kalisz, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The Plunge #1, Joe Hill’s second book for the Hill House line and Stuart Immonen’s return to monthly comics is also the most traditional horror book in the line, but that’s not a criticism. The Plunge is a highly effective thriller that plumbs the depths of the most eldritch location we know – the ocean.
It reminds me a lot of the 1997 horror film Event Horizon, in that it uses an unlikely location as a vessel for supernatural horror, in this case a sunken shipping vessel named the Derleth. That name hints at what’s to come, and as the lost ship shows up on radar decades after it was sunk, sea life around the world starts to act strangely. A large group of giant squids spontaneously beaches itself off the coast of Russia, and a colony of bristle worms starts eating each other alive. These are some great disturbing visuals to kick off the book, and it doesn’t help matters that the answers to the Derleth’s return are located in a no-man’s-land considered international waters by most but fiercely defended by Russia.
If Plunge #1 has a weakness, it’s that the first issue very much hews to the rules of opening a horror movie or a sci-fi thriller, also known as the “Twenty Minutes with Jerks” rule where we get to know everyone before the horror really kicks off.
The good news is, the cast is intriguing. We meet a brilliant marine biologist investigating the strange behavior of the animals, a shifty middleman for the shipping company who claims to have noble motives in retrieving the ship, a tough-as-nails eccentric salvage captain whose first appearance includes him showing off some very unusual and adults-only cargo, and a pair of snarking brothers who seem like they stepped out of a teen comedy. They have a quick and easy rapport, but we know horrifying things are awaiting them. This is probably the most compelling start for any of Hill’s books for DC so far, setting up a genuinely disturbing mystery with one hell of a cliffhanger as it moves into its second act.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.