Story: Zack Kaplan
Art: Alvaro Sarraseca
Colors: Dee Cunniffee
Letterer: Troy Peteri
What They Say:
Hel Coates, her brother and our teenage urban explorers have journeyed through underground New York City and discovered the site where Hel’s father disappeared, but in order to find answers and unlock the doorway to the mythical Lost City of Atlantis, they must first deal with the deadly supernatural guardian.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With some books you really do need to take the time to set the table and establish things. Lost City Explorers took four issues to get us to the point we knew would happen but it works well for it, even if the characters aren’t connecting much for me at the moment still. Zack Kaplan works the emotional beats in the right way here though there’s a bit too much in the way of personality reveals made in a way that works in movies and TV but just feels awkward. The big win here is with Alvaro Sarraseca as he once again gets to deliver some great looking pages and layouts as we get further into the underworld and the teases of what’s there. I love the look of it and Dee Cunniffee delivers beautifully with the color design and the use of black for all these empty spaces.
With the strange creature from the water chasing after them there’s the problem of them trying to get away, which leads them further down into the darkness – and the crap in the water. It’s a fairly chaotic piece once Hel figures out to use some light and sound in order to distract it but it’s a fun chase and the panic that ensues from it. But it’s the moment that, upon being able to pause, that all the emotions start coming out from Hel with the loss of her father and all that it entails. It also spirals into, well, everyone else revealing how deceptive and afraid they are of various things that keep them from being a part of groups and friends. It’s a bit forced overall and fairly self-contained in a way but it does expose why they’re all becoming closer in the here and now even with it all being panic-fueled.
With Hel as the rallying point as she wants to try one more time to figure out if her dad might be alive on the other side of the portal, they do make their way back and get the hint that she was hoping for. It does play true to form in how we get the corporate guys and the lackeys showing up to try and stop all of this from happening but it works in a good way since it lets Hel take a real leap of faith forward – which gives us some gorgeous pages. Getting us to the point where we can start exploring what’s on the other side where her dad ended up in the first issue sets the table for some excitement. There’s plenty of uncertainty ahead but these last pages look great and put everything in a place that has me anticipating some good reveals and twists ahead.
Lost City Explorers has taken its time to get here and it’s a bit of a mixed bag as to how well that’s worked – at least in single issue form as opposed to in trade form. The characters still feel a bit distant to me outside of Hel as she’s gotten most of the attention but it’s ready to dive deeper into everything once/if we get everyone on the other side and the real story starts. It’s a fun issue overall but the big win for me is Alvaro Sarraseca’s artwork and all that it brings to the page. The flow of the panels, the heavy use of the darker areas and the various shades of blue for it all really adds well to the larger atmosphere. Everything has been working toward bringing us to this point which feels like the real launching point and I’m pretty hopeful for what’s next.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: September 19th, 2018