Review - Thanatos Diver #1

"I bet we're gonna find something sooo cool. And you're gonna be like 'I want it!' but I'm gonna keep it because I'm a way better adventurer."

If you've ever fancied yourself a treasure hunter, then you know that life isn't always that glamorous. Sure, there's the chance for the big score, but more often than not you're forced to contend with other treasure hunters and a scarcity of really valuable finds. Those stories are still very exciting to pursue and Th3rd World Studios has such a book in Thanatos Diver #1, written by Nick Tapalansky and illustrated by Alex Eckman-Lawn.

Samantha is an ambitious treasure hunter with a penchant for dreaming big. It's a good thing she dreams that way too, seeing as how she can't seem to catch a break and is always being upstaged by Jade, a fellow treasure hunter. The two have a rivalry that goes back quite a ways, prompting Samantha to find a way to win the battle at least once. That ambition takes her a lot farther than she anticipated for a prize that could be more trouble than its worth.

Down on your luck heroes always seem to make for very interesting characters and Samantha is no exception in Thanatos Diver #1. In that regard, she's very enthusiastic and recklessly optimistic, daring to be adventurous even when others are frightened by the opportunity. Tapalansky does an excellent job introducing the reader to her, presenting her in youth showing a childlike fascination with finding treasure that carries into her adulthood. Tapalansky paces the issue in a way that primarily sets up Samantha's role as the main character, slowly revealing her intricacies to the reader. She's very amiable in terms of how she approaches life; choosing to venture headstrong into the unknown on a daily basis.

There's a certain lightheartedness to the book that Eckman-Lawn captures quite elegantly with his illustrations. He evokes some pretty clear anime references in the characters' appearances and some of their facial expressions that helps keeps the book feeling adventurous. His overall style is also pretty intriguing in that it mixes bold outlines with roughly filled-in spaces. It's almost as if the style is a mix of solid line art and pastel watercolors. Eckman-Lawn's unique approach almost comes across as somewhat haphazard, but it beautifully mixes Samantha's brashness with her penchant for sticking to her guns.

Thanatos Diver #1 is a blast for a first issue. It's very imaginative and reminiscent of some great old-school JRPGs, where the main character is somewhat predestined for greatness if she can only realize it. Tapalansky's dialogue is very charming and presents a story that's shaping up to be equally as joyous. There are some great influences in Eckman-Lawn's illustrative style that makes the book feel airy and relies on an unassuming style. Thanatos Diver #1 is a strong first issue in what's likely to be a pretty solid story that offers up a precocious main character who exudes a cocky arrogance.

You can preorder Thanatos Diver #1 here.