ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Deep Roots,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Deep Roots Volume 1

You don’t have to be a manic street preacher to see that we’ve put planet Earth into a bit of a bind. With pollution and climate change on the rise, environmental disaster seems less and less like science fiction. The world’s on fire, and every news cycle brings us closer to our dreaded epilogue. In trying times like these it’s important to reflect on what matters most to us.  And of course, read comics. On top of enriching the mind,  comics remind us that it can always get so much worse. On that note, let’s take a look at Vault Comics’ Deep Roots written by Dan Watters, with art from Val Rodrigues, colors by Triana Farrel and letters from Aditya Bidikar.

“I heard a story once that if we could understand the language in which trees write their rings, we could read a history of the world  within the trunk of a great oak”

Deep Roots, Page 1

Deep Roots is a horror comic that takes place in the all too near future. The Ecological collapse has finally happened, but not in the way that anyone predicted. After centuries of abuse at the hands of man, planet Earth has decided to return the favor. Across the world, flora has turned homicidal. Humanoid plants gun down civilians in the streets of London, while enormous fungal colonies engulf vast tracts of the nation. Brittan’s last line of defense is the 000, a clandestine organization built to cover up “Inaccessible Phenomenon.” But while the green revolution rages on, 000 is losing ground, all while ancient forces stir in a long-forgotten world. The Tree of Life has gone rotten, and its roots go deep.

To call Deep Roots ambitious is an understatement. Environmental Apocalypses have been done before, but never with this level of complexity. I was expecting a sci-fi romp through the end of days. But what I found was a deeply reflective examination of whether humanity is worth saving after all. In the tale of Deep Roots, humanity has not only destroyed our world but the world of folklore as well.

Early on, we see a lone champion of this other world exploring a polluted wasteland that was once a paradise. The Fair Folk who once inspired human poets are long dead, poisoned by human ambition. Each of the comic’s narratives echo the central image of tree rings, mirroring one another in shape while growing in scale.  This inspired perspective lends the comic a dreamlike atmosphere that practically drips off the page.

While Deep Root‘s dreamy presentation adds a lot to its charm, it’s not without its flaws. The comic is presented in media res, but each of its storylines weaves in and out of the present, and sometimes, reality. This method does spark some confusion, leading to a somewhat hazy reading experience. In a story that blends Celtic folklore, sci-fi superweapons, and vegetative body horror into one apocalyptic package, it would help to be more direct.

Whenever we get lost along the trail, Deep Roots guides us back home with some truly fantastic artwork. Artist Val Rodrigues and colorist Triana Farrel craft art with practically mesmeric skill. Together they incorporate Deep Root‘s tree ring imagery into almost every page. Every panel of the Other World is filled with texture and light, transforming Deep Roots into an almost impressionist comic. I can’t say I’ve ever seen this done so expertly before, and I want more.

Deep Roots feels like a collaboration between David Cronenberg and Vincent Van Gogh. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough reason to keep me reading.

Deep Roots will be available in comic book stores January 30, 2019.

Deep Roots Volume 1
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TL;DR

Deep Roots feels like a collaboration between David Cronenberg and Vincent Van Gogh. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough reason to keep me reading.