In the third chapter of Hill House Comics’ series Plunge, things get complicated as the monsters we’ve gotten hints of show themselves. There’s something about a cold and damp location that brings out a different kind of creepy. Joe Hill and Stuart Immonen are telling an exceptional story filled with mysteries and peculiarities amongst a dark and evil backdrop that’s hard to put down. In the third issue, things get explained only to create more questions and more dark mysteries.
First contact is established in this strange and mysterious issue. It follows issue #2 — which I gave a perfect 10/10 — and this issue isn’t far off from that perfection. There aren’t scares in this issue so much as a building feeling of gloom and doom. Things aren’t quite making sense, and even while we get new answers, many seem to be tied to what it means to understand math beyond human discovery. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but there are unique wrinkles to the mysterious black-eyed survivors of a shipwreck that makes each page a new discovery for the reader.
Plunge is a unique sci-fi horror story
Hill continues to write some of his best dialogue with each character feeling wholly unique and easily understood. The captain is possibly my favorite character as he truly reads like a strong leader who gives two sh*ts about money but has the honor to uphold for his crew. Lacome, the man paying this crew to dig up whatever secrets lie with the shipwreck, has a creepy quality that makes him untrustworthy on a level where you won’t want to look away in case he pulls a knife or reveals his true self.
If you’ve been keeping score at home like me, you’ll note a reveal of a certain object was hinted at in my SDCC interview with Hill back in July, where he said, “so there’s this underwater island full of Elder Gods and it’s been there for like a billion years. So they’re all oil now.” It’s a bit of a spoiler when you connect the dots (and if my guess is correct), but it’s an impressive idea Hill has worked into the plot.
Immonen is, of course, a big part of the character work on the page, further enhancing the humanity in characters, or the lack thereof, helping you connect with the characters on another level. The previous issue had more sci-fi and horror reveals, but here Immonen shows off a masterclass in blocking and framing of the characters. Granted, there is a lot of talking, but Immonen has you on the edge of your seat as the black-eyed crew who hasn’t aged a day talk and show their creepy grins. Colors by Dave Stewart add to the crispness and there are some striking scenes cast in all-red and warm lantern-light that imbue a sense of atmosphere. Letters by Deron Bennett are telling a story in themselves too with creative ways of distinguishing between bad guys, good guys, and those under an influence.
Plunge is turning out to be one of my favorite horror comics in some time. It has everything you’d want and then some thanks to the crisp characters and creepy underbelly that lies just below the surface. Read this to get the shivers running down your spine. Plunge is utterly unique and finds darkness in the spaces between reason and the chilling unknown.