By: Sam Sarkar (script), Garrie Gastonny (art), Sakti Yuwoko (colors)

The Story: A team of explorers is excavating an underwater wreck that is reputed to hold a whole swack of swag. But there’s some weird stuff going on. Like, how the heck did the people who put the treasure there get that far into the ocean? And why do some of the finds have strange symbols? And why do the tunnels on the ocean floor match the layouts in the great pyramids?

What’s Good: Right off the bat, the art is just beautiful. There’s no way to miss it. From the double-splash page war in heaven to the exquisite faces to the watery shine of light under the waves, everything is attractive and eye-catching in its detail. The clothing looks like Gastonny spent hours on wrinkles and folds and pockets. The boat is very lived in, the technology is realistic and the squid is awesomely lifelike and menacing. The expressions are subtle, but evocative, matching the understated tones and emotions of the situations. I could go on and on about the artwork, but I think the point is made: Gastonny + Yuwoko = Great!

On the writing, Sarkar’s scope is ambitious. There’s some seriously deep-sea, deep-history mystery at play, and Sarkar suggests that far more is at stake than just whether these guys make back the money they invested in this excavation. He’s also ambitious with the execution. I mean, this book is *dense*. There are easily as many words in this book as you would find in any three or four average comics. But not for a second does the dialogue (which does most of the expository work) get artificial or dull. The characters have conflicts and they dispute each other’s ideas and some are new to working together so Sarkar has set things up for us to listen to all this and learn. Fun ride.

What’s Not So Good: I really had no complaints about this book.

Conclusion: What a gem of a book! I can totally recommend The Vault. Get it now. They will only be three issues.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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