I feel like I have to say right away that I really, really enjoyed this graphic. It is not often that I can say that I read a comic and found myself smiling, laughing, and groaning because of the characters the whole way through. I just don’t. I am pretty judgy as a reader to be perfectly honest. I am admittedly difficult to impress. With that said, I was legitimately impressed by this work. Let me tell you why.
This Comic is Created by Phenomenal Women
Let’s talk about the creators. Rivera is an Eisner and Ringo award-winning illustrator,
animator, and writer, prompting SyFy Wire to call her “a multi-talented force in indie comics.” She is the co-creator and artist behind the graphic novels Spectre Deep 6, 200, and the creator of a weekly web strip, Love, Joolz. Rivera also creates storyboards and designs for TV and film, while teaching storyboarding at the college level. For complete transparency, I must tell you that I am a long time fan of Rivera’s work. I try not to show bias, but there you have it. Jennifer Brody is the award-winning author of The 13th Continuum, graphic novels Spectre Deep 6, 200, and the Disney Chills book series, writing as Vera Strange. She’s a graduate of Harvard University and a film and television producer and writer. She began her career in Hollywood on many films, including The Lord of the Rings and The Golden Compass. In short, these ladies are no slacks. They know what they are doing in storytelling and it shows. I expect professionals with these credentials to put out quality work, and Spectre Deep 6 meets those expectations.
An Intriguing Story
Spectre Deep is the story of a woman and soldier, Bianca Vasquez, who sacrifices it all trying to reunite her family. She does a lot only to fail and be brought back to life to continue serving as a soldier and to haunt her old life… if she earns the privilege. If this brief explanation doesn’t pique your interest, we clearly have nothing in common. Besides having a very intriguing premise, the characters are both well rounded and very fun. Spectre Deep is a triumph of representation. I love that not only does this comic include people of color and LGBTQIA characters, but NONE of them are stereotypes… not even a little bit. I mean, no angry Black ladies anywhere. Women are badasses. Men are kind and compassionate. Human beings are human (kinda, because they are mostly dead). It was a joy to read and a breath of fresh air.
A Few Issues to Mention
My utter joy in reading Spectre Deep doesn’t make it perfect by any stretch of the imagination. As a mother, I did find the parent/child issue to be a bit unrealistic. I won’t get into details because it would spoil too much. The treatment of the parent/child scenario felt wrong. I won’t judge too harshly because there may be more to clarify the protagonist’s choices in later editions. I really hope there is. The issue of child abandonment really took me out of a plot that I was really enjoying. I’d like to make it make sense. There were also a few places in the plot that felt a little rushed. I wanted more time spent on transitioning between action than I was given (especially the witch scene, how you gonna short me like that?!?).
My Love for This Comic is Real, Though
I did, however, love the time spent on character development. I loved learning about the whole Spectre team, especially Kim and Bart. They are so loveable! I also want to point out that the big boys in comics and film writing could really stand to learn a thing or two about representation from this work. There are whole panels where there are Black, Latinx, Trans, and Korean folx who are just talking and living their best afterlives… The page doesn’t catch fire or anything! It is a beautiful thing to experience! I loved every second of the humanization and representation.
I also love the artwork in the series. I especially love the way the color gradients move from shades of gray to these amazing oranges and teals that are symbolic of the scenes that they represent. I absolutely loved it. At first, I found the casual-looking lettering unfitting for the story, but it grew on me. There are a few panels where I kept asking… “where are their shadows?” Now, maybe they don’t always cast shadows because… y’know, ghosts… but it did bother me a little. I am not an artist though, so I am going to stay way up in my own lane. Even in my menial understanding, I was able to really pick up how the colors being used were intended to be meaningful and that they tell their own story. That is such an intelligent way to design. Not all artists have the intellectual capacity to convey meaning and emotion through color alone. I love to see it.
Overall, this is a great read. Do not sleep on these ladies. You will be doing yourself a huge disservice.
Blerd Galaxy Star Ratings:
OVERALL STAR RATING: