Title: Submerged #1 | Publisher: Vault | Script: Vita Ayala | Pencils: Lisa Sterle | Colors: Stelladia | Letters: Rachel Deering | Publication Date: July 4, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified, begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night. Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it’s too late.
Submerged #1 takes place in New York City during a massive storm; flooding is expected. Our heroine, Elysia is relaxing when she receives a concerning phone call from her brother that insinuates he may be in some real trouble. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Elysia has always covered up for or protected her brother. She seems reluctant to again rush to his rescue but does so. The trail leads her to the subway. It is here that the story takes a turn and becomes truly intriguing.
There are many things to like about this first issue. I very much enjoyed the writing by Vita Ayala. Much of this story is done with Elysia finding her way down a rabbit hole of strangeness. Ayala does not overburden us with needless monologues or interior dialogue. This is effective in building the oddness and tension. And there is oddness. Some of the denizens of the subway are pretty unusual. Even for the New York subway. This is probably the one knock I have on the story.
Elysia definitely thinks that the experience she is having are weird but she never really questions them to any real extent. The story alludes to some Greek mythological connections but does not beat you over the head with them. However, their mere suggestion made me pause and consider the connections. After reading through the issue a few times, I am not sure exactly where the story is going. And I really love that. But enough bread crumbs are left that have me pondering the possibilities.
Lisa Sterle’s art helps tell this story as much as Ayala’s words and constructs a foreboding tone that compliments the narrative. Some of the characters, especially the “train conductor” are creepy in their simplicity. Nothing is drawn over the top which helps sell the ‘believability’ of the story. And ‘believability’ is key to a good supernatural or horror story. There is still the possibility that this may not be a supernatural occurrence but just a particularly eerie, but ordinary evening under New York.
The Bottom Line:
Submerged #1 is a fascinating introductory issue. Vita Ayala and co. lay the groundwork for an original story that seems intent on keeping the reader guessing its direction.