Review of Submerged Vol. 1 by Vita Ayala, Lisa Sterle (Artist)

About

On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified, begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night. Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it’s too late. 


Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • Published February 12th 2019 by Vault Comics
  • ISBN1939424429 (ISBN13: 9781939424426)
  • Edition LanguageEnglish

My Thoughts

I wasn’t quite sure what to think upon picking this up from Vault. I adore Vault’s catalog. They combine two of my favorite things, sci-fi/fantasy, and comics. Previously, I read The Vagrant Queen and loved it. It had a definite space opera vibe to it, which I appreciate. Submerged, however, started confusing, and I realized pretty early on that the confusion was purposeful. I believe that the story was written that way to set the reader off balance. Ayala is throwing odd and fanciful situations at Elysia that verge on realistic. But, something is off in every scene. You feel like Elysia is on a journey to an unknown destination in the search for her brother, but you can’t understand what is going on. As the story progresses, you discover that Elysia is on a journey into the underworld to liberate her brother from its clutches.

The imagery is vivid, almost to the point of beautiful. But tempering that beauty is an undercurrent of pain and fear that penetrates the panels. Elysia is in pain. She is terrified of not finding her brother and failing him, terrified of the creatures and images she has to face, and most of all she is terrified of meeting the inner darker parts of herself and her history. It is a journey of self discovery, but it is a journey of forgiveness. We, as readers, become invested in this tale. We want to know what is going to happen. Ayala drops bits and pieces of the narrative as the story progresses, the tension from panel to panel ratchets up as she fights not only the environment, cleverly a flood instead of fire, but parts of herself. The story is chock full of imagery from different pantheons, mainly Egyptian and greek, and I found myself googling description from the various panels to delve into the deeper meaning that Ayala was shooting for.


Overall, Submerged was a beautiful story to read. It wasn’t perfect for me. There were pacing issues that I struggled with, but overall, I found myself going back to different panels and rereading. It is a dark and deep story. That is well drawn and well executed. It has Latinx representation that you do not often find in stories of this type.

It is a story of love, loss, beauty, and what it means to be human. It is well worth the read.


Procurement

I received a copy of this from Vault comics in exchange for my open and honest review.


About The Author

Hola, I’m Vita, a queer enby Afro-Latin@ writer from New York. Queer & Brown is my brand.


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