Between the Panels – The Underwater Welder

So now that we have TUG up and running again I’d love to say that also means that Between the Panels will once more be a regular addition to the line up, sadly I am still very unemployed and that means I can’t afford weekly comics. As always I hope to change that soon as I don’t want to get even more behind than I already am, but as soon as I do, this will once more be an epic place to come. For now though here is a review of a comic that I had been looking forward to reading for some time. Welcome back everyone!

WARNING: PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THESE COMICS THIS POST MAY CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS OF THE COMICS BEING REVIEWED!

Comic: The Underwater WelderThe Underwater Welder

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Author & Artist: Jeff Lemire

Have you ever seen The Twilight Zone? I have, I watched it a lot growing up, The Space Network played reruns of it quite a lot and both my mom and dad loved the show when they were growing up. Then of course when The Outer Limits came out I watched that, it was the exact same as Twilight Zone, just more up to date with its look and the tech they had in each episode. The Underwater Welder is, basically, an episode of The Twilight Zone. In the introduction to the book Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost) says it best “The most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced. I really, really care about the people in this store…And I can guarantee you will too.” I couldn’t happen to agree more with Mr Lindelof, and once you read this book you’ll probably agree too.

Jack is an underwater welder (thus the title, who would have thunk it?) who lives on the coast of Nova Scotia, he and his wife are expecting their first child and he has to go off for one more stint to the off shore oil rig he works at before he can come back home and be with his wife until the baby is born and a few weeks after the fact. When Jack goes out to the rig he dives down and sees a pocket watch that he recognizes, he goes to pick it up and he blacks out. He wakes up in a doctor’s office and is told that he needs to take some time off, which means he can spend the rest of the time with his pregnant wife before she gives birth. The only problem is that Jack becomes obsessed with this watch, he starts hearing things and having flashbacks to when he was a kid, to when his father was still alive. He begins to remember things that he hasn’t thought of in years and finally, when he can’t take it anymore, he goes out alone (great idea) to find this watch again. That was a big mistake, from their things take a majorly supernatural turn and, as Damon Lindelof says, becomes an amazing unwritten episode of The Twilight Zone.

This story is very well thought out and well executed one, Jeff Lemire puts together a very emotionally touching story that, because of events in my personal life, made me more invested in this story than I think a lot of people will be, but I’m sure you will still enjoy it greatly. I’m always interested when an author that I know draws the art in their own comic when I’ve never seen them go solo on a book before. Jeff Lemire currently writes Animal Man for DC Comics and Sweet Tooth (which he also draws but I have not read) for Vertigo and will soon be writing Green Arrow for DC as well, I have only read Animal Man so I did not know he did draw, but I was very impressed by the work he did in Underwater Welder. I don’t know how to very well describe the style, I don’t really know anything about art other than if I like it or not, so I’ll just post a picture:

The Underwater Welder

There, that’s the art style, and it works really, really well in this book, the odd supernatural vibe of the story makes the art work well, and vice versa.

I burned through this book, I couldn’t put it down, I mean that isn’t much to say for a comic but I still read it in a pretty short amount of time because it really was that interesting. Check it out if you have the chance, you can find it all over the place, I think it’s one of the best books to come out of last year and the amount of time that Lemire put into this definitely makes it a labour of love. Go grab a copy right now.

9/10

***

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