Review: Delver: Season 1 (ComiXology Originals)

Comixology, long since considered the premier source for digital comics, even with the invention of the Unlimited and Comichaus subscriptions, recently celebrated a year since their announcement to begin publishing their own comics line, Comixology Originals. Now, with the recent release of their second wave which include Joe Glass’ the Pride and Andy Diggle’s Promethee, we delve back into their original back catalogue and check out fantasy series Delver

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics/Comixology Originals
Writer: MK Reed, C. Spike Trotman, Angela Purcell (Editor)
Artist: Clive Hawken (Art), Maarta Laiho (Colours), Ed Dukeshire (Letters), Matt Sheridan (Design)
Price: £1.99/$2.99 per issue

Delver tells the story of the of Temerity, or Merit for short, and her family who live a simple farming life in the small village of Oddgoat, whose existence barely registers on any map and is unassuming but for the odd two-headed goat. However, all that changes when a member of Merit’s family discovers a Dungeon, a magic door leading to a magical, dangerous and unusual place, in their home’s cellar. Now, this small village is set upon by every delver in the land as they come to seek both adventure and riches beyond this mysterious door. But, after many weeks and months of her home being trampled over and misused by this visitors, Temerity decides enough is enough and, with the aid of another would be Delver, sets off into the dungeon in search for the riches to save her family. But has she overestimated what the dungeon can over, and underestimated the dangers which lie in wait behind the door?

Delver is a very interesting and quite captivating story once you get into it. Unfortunately, it’s beginnings are quite a slog to keep invested as it runs at a very slow pace, offering little by way of exposition or understanding as to what is going on. That said, after the title sets something of a visual scene by the midway point of the first issue, Reed and Trotman really get things going, moving the tale into something much more intriguing as you move on in issue numbers. What makes this story much more interesting is how, as the plot progresses, the characterisation grows to something of a reactionary state as the circumstances of the plot progress. This is best summed up in main character Temerity, who starts as something of a blank slate until the arrival of the Delvers, when she becomes something embittered by what is happening to her home with it’s misuse by these visitors as well as its corruption due to magic from the Dungeons proximity. This makes the character very relatable in a way not often seen in comics.

Meanwhile, Clive Hawken provides some incredibly well fitting visuals for Delver, as his style is a nice mish mash of both a fantasy-esque look seen in many other fantasy comics (such as recent Songs for the Dead) with an adorable, almost classical look to it, making the book easy on the eye. That said, it also looked incredibly grounded despite it fantastical nature, which was thanks in part to colourist Maarta Laiho who utilises a nice, natural and earthy colour palette throughout the series which only rarely deviates.

While it’s beginnings do make it something of a chore to start, Reed, Trotman and the team manage to pick up steam to craft a series which is both enjoyable to read and beautiful to look at. A series which offers no end of colourful characters, bizarre creatures and light-hearted adventure, Delver is a series which will convince you to return to Comixology’s own dungeon for more of the same.