Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Ariela Kristantina
Colors by Ben Wilsonham
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Published by Boom! Studios
If you liked The X-Files, you’ll enjoy Deep State, which is a great mix of terrestrial science fiction, horror and conspiracies.
Volume one collects the first four issues of the BOOM! Studios series, which introduces us to Ms. Branch, an FBI agent who’s working late on a case she was told not to investigate during regular work hours. She comes home to a mysterious stranger sitting in her dark house, looking to recruit her for a shadowy government agency.
After a little too much exposition in the early panels that explains how most conspiracies such as Roswell were cover stories for the actual crazy stuff the government has been covering up, the story kicks into high gear as Branch and her new partner John Harrow deal with nasty happenings involving a dead Cosmonaut and an otherworldly visitor. The stakes are high, as is the body count.
The first four issues of Deep State effectively blend action, science fiction and horror (it contributed to an intense nightmare for this reviewer in collaboration with a large Easter dinner) in a story that moves at a compelling clip. The drawback of this is it doesn’t leave much room for character development, but there’s obviously more to Ms. Branch and Harrow than meets the eye, which is reason alone to read the next volume, and writer Justin Jordan does have a plan, so that’s another, as are the final panels.
The sketchy art style by Ariela Kristantina really suits the tone and content of the story, particularly the horror elements. Intense and darks colors by Ben Wilsonham further add to the tense atmosphere.
Ultimately, Deep State: Darker Side of the Moon delivers what it promises. Fans of the SF-conspiracy-horror genre won’t be disappointed and will likely want to add this ongoing series to their pull list rather than wait for the next collected volume.