Baths, therapeutic or not, European or Asian, are the most boring and safest places there are in the world (unless you’re in an anime.) French comic creator Lucas Harari felt that writing about a mystery at a bathhouse would be interesting in his debut graphic novel “Swimming in Darkness” which is not as interesting as it sounds. Pierre is a French architect student who is fascinated with thermal bats that he even wrote a thesis paper on the Zunther’s Therma Baths in Vals, Switzerland… and that paper went missing while Pierre was in a trace while writing it. He decides to go to these baths to do more research, but more mysterious things keep happening to him. There isn’t much of a mystery at first, but the mystery does slowly develop the longer Pierre is in Vals. It’s an Ok story that introduces a pseudo villain that has a clear goal. Problem is, most of the time it’s just Pierre screwing around sketching the baths and even meeting some locals, including a girl. It’s not terrible, the translation is well done and doesn’t read like it was originally written in a foreign language. The problem is that these characters aren’t all that interesting. Pierre, who we’re supposed to be following and get to know better, is flat and one-note. The baths’ mystery is interesting, but the execution causes whatever mystery there is to the baths seem boring. The artwork is what everyone thinks when they think “European comic art.” Tiny eyes that are nothing but dots, the main lead having a weird head, characters have realistic bodies but heads and faces seem off and nudity. Not to mention the colors are beautifully used, especially when it’s supposed to be a tense scene. There’s also a lot of “experimental” designs such as when Pierre is just sketching nothing but squares that are supposed to look like the baths. “Swimming in Darkness” bay come some nice art and plot, but the story doesn’t quite scratch that mystery ich. It’s not a terrible comic that doesn’t deserve to be read by anyone, but it’s mediocre, fine, OK and other synonyms that point to this being read it once and forget you ever read it story.
About Rocco Sansone 761 Articles
Rocco Sansone is a “man of many interests.” These include anime/manga, video games, tabletop RPGs, YA literature, 19th century literature, the New York Rangers, and history. Among the things and places he would like to see before he dies are Japan, half of Europe, and the New York Rangers win another Stanley Cup.