ADVANCE REVIEW: Deep State #3 – The Next Files

Written by: Justin Jordan Art by: Ariela Kristantina Published by: BOOM! Studios $3.99
Written by: Justin Jordan Art by: Ariela Kristantina Published by: BOOM! Studios $3.99

Now that we’re three issues into Deep State I think we can reasonably make a judgement call about the series. Thankfully, writer Justin Jordan and artist Ariela Kristantina nail the things that they need to get right with a series like this. Stories like the one being told in Deep State rely on empathetic, sympathetic characters and sheer creativity to survive. Readers must latch onto the characters and smile at the zany plot twists, or else they’re liable to slip away. Logical consistency is something conspiracy-based science fiction stories inherently lack, so when great characters are absent, the story falls apart a la the final season of The X-Files.

“Deep State #3” scratches an itch for this kind of story-telling, which has fallen somewhat back into vogue, but does it in a much more skillful and creative way than the garbage Bigfoot and UFO shows on TLC and the History Channel. Jordan and Kristantina have revealed a massive, terrible threat to mankind and only our shadowy protagonists can stop it before it devours all of humanity. So, yes, “Deep State #3” dives into the deep end of camp a little bit more than previous issues but, if you weren’t already expecting that then I’m not sure why you’d bother reading this series.

Deep State has been my introduction to the work of Kristantina and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen. Her work isn’t super polished but definitely has a unique voice and tone that is instantly recognizable. Camera angles are diverse and well framed without making characters look awkward or out of position. Character expressions look excellent and are easily identifiable but all of that only adds up to a competent artist. Where Kristantina really scores points is with the creativity of the alien presence and the stricken town. The eerie silence is somehow translated through the art and the terrifying violence that has been inflicted on the townspeople looks spectacular, like a cross between The Walking Dead and The Borg from Star Trek.

Verdict:

“Deep State #3” leaves readers with an interesting cliffhanger, whose inevitable conclusion isn’t simple to tease out. This series has built momentum with every issue so far – Jordan and Kristantina now must craft a compelling overarching character dynamic between their protagonists and come up with other creative threats to thicken the outlandish plot. Fans of conspiracy fiction will find a lot to love about this series – another hit from BOOM! Studios.

“Deep State #3” earns 7.5/10