Matt Kindt is moving in a different direction for the follow-up to his fascinating, cerebral Dark Horse series MIND MGMT, and that direction is down. Way, way down. DEPT. H is set seven miles underwater, detailing the experience of an investigator tasked with solving the murder of her father at a deep-sea research station, and this week’s DEPT. H #1 sets up a compelling sci-fi mystery as Mia journeys to the ocean floor to begin her investigation. That first issue succeeds at creating a tense atmosphere and an immersive underwater environment, and Sharlene Kindt’s rich watercolors amplify the visual impact of her husband’s story and linework.
This preview of next month’s DEPT. H #2 begins by moving out of the ocean and into space, flashing back to Mia’s days as an astronaut with her father and brother. The scope of the visuals in this opening sequence gradually expands with each page, building to the dramatic splash revealing the space station surrounded by asteroids. It’s big and expansive, but once the action jumps back to the present and seven miles underwater, the layouts become more cramped to emphasize the intense pressure surrounding these characters at this depth. This kind of artistic specificity is to be expected when Matt Kindt is writing and drawing his own work, and readers looking for a bold, intelligent mystery should seek out the series’ first issue before diving into DEPT. H #2 on May 18.