Knee Deep

Oni Pr. May 2023. 224p. pap. $21.99. ISBN 9781620109380.
Gr 9 Up–Sarah “Cricket” Higashi is in big trouble. The administrators of PERCH, the post-climate apocalyptic phosphorus mining town that has always been her home, are running out of patience with her refusal to work any of the array of abusive jobs they force her into. Now Mathis, her childhood teacher, has reappeared mysteriously out of the depths after years, infected with a horrifying fungus and spouting dangerous facts—including the idea that Cricket’s parents, who she was always told died in a mining accident when she was a child, may in fact still be alive in a secret subterranean society. Daring and headstrong Cricket promptly sneaks her way into the mines, where she discovers the underground world Mathis told her about, populated with a surprising array of denizens, from cyborgs and gangsters to animal/human mutants called Hybrids. Luckily, Cricket falls in with a crowd who not only have heard of her notorious parents but are also willing to go to war with the powerful mining corporation on her family’s behalf. Moody, angular, and dynamic illustrations help bring this rip-roaring story to life. With a diverse cast of characters, a fast-paced, action-packed plot, and an enticing cliff-hanger, this is a promising start to a series that will have readers clamoring for more.
VERDICT A surefire recommendation for comics readers on the hunt for all things post-apocalypse; high adventure; and grungy, industrial sci-fi.

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