5 from Below: Fear the Deep
As I’ve said before, 5 from Below is a series of articles I’m dedicated to shining some light on comic book titles that have more or less gone under the radar in spite of their immense quality. Now on to its second part, I would like you to know that you do not need to feel obligated to read the first one in order to enjoy this one. I mean, come on, this isn’t a goddamn superhero comic you’re reading right now! I’ve got enough respect for you guys to not dupe you the way big publishers like to get their jollies on. That said, I will have to say that I do encourage you to check out the first one, where I write about my thoughts on Vertigo Comics and their series by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt, Clean Room, if only to provide you with something new to read that could drag you by the hair out of your superhero comic book-made shell.
In any case, I’ll be talking about a budding franchise that hails from the land of croissants and Eiffel Towers, and if you take offense that it’s not from your beloved ‘Murica, then get the flying f*&^ out of here, you damn nerdy hick! The comic book series in question here is one that comes from the minds of Cristophe Bec, Eric Henninot, and Milan Jovanovic entitles Carthago. Now, don’t worry your fragile little head about not being able to read this, because it’s published by Humanoids. So, that means, one, you can easily order this through your local bookstore or comic shop/nerd center and, two, it’s been translated into English. Hell, the only reason for you not to read this once you find out about it is if you don’t enjoy any comic books that don’t feature Spider-Man’s bulge within its panels. In that case, enjoy your life, you freak.
Now, a lot of people in the world love Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and that is what Carthago appears like on the surface. But, just like the primary setting of both of those titles I’ve mentioned, there’s a lot more underneath Bec, Henninot, and Jovanovic’s series. First of all, it combines elements of monster horrors, conspiracy mysteries, and globetrotting adventure. However, like I said, Carthago’s the kind of series that has more to it than a motherlovin’ Megalodon (as you’ll see on its cover); it’s the kind where readers come for one thing and stay for another. The thing is, Carthago’s not the type of title where readers ride it out to see which of the characters will survive to the end, all the while desensitizing them to suspense. Rather, it’s one that is full of interesting characters and a whole lot of mysteries that contribute to its world-building.
So, what exactly is it about? Well, all I’ll tell you is that it all starts when an underwater cove was accidentally opened during a drilling operation, which led to the discovery of not only a freaking Megalodon, but all sorts of horrors as well. Oh, and it doesn’t end in the sea, too, but I’ll leave it up to you to pick up your own copy.