Mayan mythology isn’t seen all that often in comics, weirdly enough, which is a shame because not only is it an incredibly deep and fascinating culture, they never went extinct - plenty of Mayans still practice the old ways to this day. But this comic goes a step further and mixes it with sea creatures and an underwater civilization and aliens and robots - it’s easily one of the most unusual premises I’ve seen.

However, it doesn’t start off very strong. A duty-bound soldier is moralized to by one of the people he’s sent to kill, and he has trouble arguing back because it’s clear he has doubts about the righteousness of his cause, no matter how much he tries to deny it to himself. It becomes obvious very quickly that the society he lives in is incredibly dystopian, and that his overlords think of him and his kin as nothing but disposable tools to be used and abused however they see fit, kept in line by relentless dogma. In fact, his caste is literally called the “Faithful”. The whole thing started to feel kinda preachy.

More than that, the storytelling at the beginning I found to be very disorienting. There’s a big lore dump right at the start and I’m not sure it helped me to understand anything at all about the setting. I think it’s something that would have been better saved for the middle of the comic, where there are a number of other, much better lore dumps anyway.

So despite how awesome the premise is, I wasn’t invested in this comic much, until the main cast escapes from prison and goes on the run. I’ll admit to being biased here: I love these kinds of stories, where the main characters are relentlessly pursued by a force so powerful it’s barely inside their comprehension, and doing everything they can, no matter what, to survive and maintain their freedom. I think the reason I like it is because it turns all your priorities upside-down. You don’t need to worry about work, or school, or money, or obeying the law. You’re being hunted by something deadly and terrifying, and if you don’t get a move on, it’s gonna devour you. I can't get enough of that sort of thing.

I also really like the artwork, on top of having a super unique premise it’s also got a very distictive artsytyle. I can’t think of any other comic that looks like Aquapunk, and it’s a good look, too. Especially later on when they’re at the island, there are some awesome creature designs and really nice uses of contrasting colors.

I hesitate to call Aquapunk outstanding because the beginning was kind of a slog, but once it gets good, it gets pretty good.

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