‘Dept.H #15:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Martin Scorcese says film is dead. It’s a strong statement meant to provoke discussion, and it’s difficult to argue against someone like Scorcese, a historian of cinema itself. He sees the breadth of everything that has been, is now, and what lies ahead. I want to say to Scorcese that comic books are keeping film alive. Creators like Matt Kindt are keeping the art of visual storytelling not only alive but moving forward. At first Kindt’s artistic style may seem scrappy or unfinished. That’s how I first felt when I picked up Issue #1 of Mind MGMT, but the word of mouth was so good for the series that it was hard for me to pass up. Now, I see him for who he really is. With every panel, Kindt tells a story, and he creates a mood and tone. In Issue #15 of Dept.H, he shows us what it would be like to have a photographic memory, melding time and space to pull us into our hero’s world. In fact, this issue takes us even more into Mia’s world than any issue has.

Up until now, readers have been fed information little by little about Mia’s past. Over the past year (for readers), we’ve had to put it together like a puzzle as Mia has tried to survive the collapse of an underwater research center while trying to figure out who killed her father. Now, she’s questioning everything which points to the fact that her father’s murder may be about more than what happened on Dept.H. Deep inside she may also realize that in order to sort out who murdered her father, she has to sort herself out: who she is, what her motivation is, and what her path will be. Why do her memories keep going back to specific moments that - on the surface - have nothing immediately to do with the murder?

This issue is not only an exploration of what Mia is going through, but of memories and how we interpret them and remember them. It’s an examination of what influences our own decisions in life. Can we ever be free from the influences of others? These are big, heady topics - topics Kindt is absolutely worthy of handling. Plus, he leaves us with a cliffhanger in the first couple of pages of the book! Talk about effectively subverting structural norms!

Suffice it to say, Dept.H is becoming more than just a simple thriller about finding a murderer, but now I want to know what’s going on more than ever!

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