Indie Comic Review: Doctor Atlantis

Doctor Atlantis by Ian Ally-Seals and Carl Mefferd – Rare Earth Comics – $9.99

Steampunk is fun. Pirates are fun. So, what would happen if the two of them got mashed together in a wild sea-faring adventure? It would probably turn out something like Doctor Atlantis from Ian Ally-Seals and Carl Mefferd. And that would be a good thing!

Doctor Atlantis tells the tale of Dr. Julius Fowler, the sole surviving crew member and acting Captain of Her Majesty’s far-sea exploration vessel, The Atlantis. Fowler rescues a young native boy adrift in a wrecked boat on the high seas. He takes the boy back to the Atlantis and nurses him back to health. Being the sole surviving member of the crew (aside from a faithful canine companion), Fowler is delighted to have a new companion.

Much like another famous British Doctor, Fowler is given to long-winded explanations and one-sided conversations which do as much to elucidate the situation as they do to reveal some part of his character. Fowler at first appears to be amazing and practically perfect in every way, but as the book unfolds, and his companion’s english improves, Fowler is revealed to be flawed and maybe not so perfect.

Doctor Atlantis is quite a bit of fun! There is action, adventure, giant sea creatures, and more than a few thrilling moments when Fowler shows the true might of the technological marvel that is the Atlantis. Ally-Seals’ script strikes the perfect balance between having fun with the scenario and treating the characters and plot with respect. Fowler seems to be having a jolly good time throughout the book. But, much like the classic tv show MASH, when it is time for things to get serious, the laughter dies away and the reality of the situation is allowed to shine through.

The art by Mefferd echoes that duality. The character designs are cartoony and exaggerated. Niether Fowler nor his companion, Chosot, cut a dashing figure. But they are full of personality and expression. Mefferd’s style has a bit of a Jeff Smith influence. His characters are a bit squat, and his vreatures have a ferocity which seems out of proportion to the humorous humans they encounter Where Mefferd really chooses to unleash his art skills is in the rendering of the dangers the two men face. From fantastic sea creatures to raging storms, the big set pieces are where Mefferd shows his strength. the world of Doctor Atlantis is a place full of mystery and danger, and Carl Mefferd has done a great job bringing it to life.

My only complaint is that the book ended so soon. Doctor Atlantis collects three issues of the comic. However, clearly there are many more adventures to come. I cannot wait to see what new dangers and mysteries Fowler, Chosot, and the Atlantis discover. Doctor Atlantis is a swashbuckling sea adventure that deserves a place on your shelf.

Doctor Atlantis is available in comic shops now!

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