By Nick Couture — Unearth recalls many works of fiction. It evokes: Alien, The Thing, Annihilation, and countless other great works of squad action body horror. While not breaking any new ground, Unearth #2 accelerates the tension and continues the dark descent into madness.
Something weird is happening in Mexico. People are turning into leaking blobs. Locals are acting strange. So naturally it’s up to a group of trained operatives to sort things out. That means jumping into a cave and, as the first issue showed us, things don’t go as planned. In Unearth #2 the group struggles to push forward, which ultimately reveals the question: do you fight the chaos or embrace it?
Writers Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm are no strangers to horror comics. Bunn, having worked on numerous horror books including: The Empty Man, Cold Spots, and Regression, continues to be very comfortable in this zone. For Strahm, having worked on the Image body horror book Spread, it makes perfect sense why Unearth would be his follow-up. Horror fits like a glove for these guys. Bunn and Strahm build atmosphere effortlessly, giving us light story but doubling down heavy on mood. They seem to really get the iconographic images of the genre. It’s the suits, the bubble helmets, and the creatures. They know what you’re here for, and they deliver.
Artist Baldemar Rivas has created a great look for the book. He is confident and fully formed right out of the gate. He has a cold detached look that really helps evoke the militaristic vibe of this comic. He reminds me of the kind of artist we would have seen on an issue of Ales Kot’s Image book Zero a few years ago. While his art does feel cold, Rivas manages to imbue a great deal of life and vitality into faces. Each character has a unique look and build, which helps distinguish them apart from each other.
This can be hard to do given how everyone is wearing the same outfit. I love his use of color as well. While the book is mainly dominated by yellows and greens, certain scenarios offer him a chance to explore unique palettes that let those moments stand out. One particular area of the cave is dominated by purples and blues, really adding an uneasy, unnatural feeling. We also see a large underground structure rendered beautifully in purple and pink as a flare illuminates the area. Rivas is complemented by Crank! on letters who rounds out the art team.
Overall: Don’t expect Unearth to reinvent the wheel. However, it has the potential to go many unexpected places. With great art and a locked-in mood, if this is your aesthetic, this comic will very much be your thing. 8.0/10
Writers: Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm
Artist: Rivas Baldemar
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Nick Couture is a video producer living in Lansing, Michigan with his wife and daughter. His first love is film but comics have been a constant source of creative fuel for him for many years. He loves drinking coffee and long-distance running.