The guys at Rare Earth Comics had a special surprise for fans at this year’s New York Comic Con: a con-exclusive edition of Doctor Atlantis #4. Judging by this issue, huge things are on the horizon for the series; keep reading for our review.
The first three issues of Doctor Atlantis (written by Ian Ally-Seals and drawn by Carl Mefferd) did a fantastic job of building enigmatic sea captain Fowler and his accomplice Chosot into rich, complex characters. When we last saw this dynamic duo, they were harboring a group of previously enslaved natives on the Atlantis, Fowler’s enormous steam-powered ship. We were left with a giant sea monster approaching the Atlantis from the depths, promising another seriously bad day for Fowler and company.
The issue begins with the humongous turtle/tadpole hybrid trying to consume the entire ship, kicking off one of the most epic battles with a sea creature this side of Moby Dick. The struggle lasts for about three-quarters of the issue, and the excitement never dies down for an instant. Giving away how the enemy is finally defeated would be spoiling a huge part of the story, but I will say that things take an interesting and unexpected turn when a new character is introduced in the last few pages.
Ally-Seals’s writing still has all the fun from from the previous issues, with Fowler shouting ridiculous things at the sea monster as his attempts to kill it are continually foiled. This is obviously a fun book to write and it shows in every panel. Beyond just the dialogue, the narrative does a great job of balancing large-scale action with more personal conflicts, which the cliffhanger in this issue seems to be leading into. And Mefferd’s artwork has only gotten crazier in the best way possible. His sea creature designs are just too cool, and he demonstrates the awesome scale of this issue’s giant battle even more effectively than the previous ones.
According to Ally-Seals, we can expect issues 4, 5 and 6 in another collected volume this winter. Until then, check out www.rareearthcomics.com for an assortment of free webcomics that are updated every Sunday.