"Dark Ark #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Juan Doe
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 25th, 2017
Shrae and his family are adrift in an ark. All they can see for miles and miles is water. Lurking beneath the decks are monsters of all shapes and sizes, including, but not limited to, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and unicorns. One of them has just been murdered. Now there's a brawl on the ship and Shrae has to hold things together if he hopes to get out of this alive and complete his mission.
Dark Ark goes from a great premise to a supernatural murder mystery with this issue. Half of the ark's inhabitants are pointing fingers at the other half. Everyone had a reason to kill this creature, so they're all suspects. If Shrae doesn't do something soon, there will be more bodies to clean up. You have to admire his bravery. The man has balls. He walks into a room filled with brawling monsters and commands respect. His voice silences them all in a heartbeat.
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Artist Juan Doe depicts Shrae in a position of power. He's usually seen from below, making him appear larger than he really is and far more intimidating. You can see what the monsters cower in his presence. He stands face-to-face with creatures that would kill him and eat his body at the drop of a hat, but none of them dares even lift a claw to do so.
It's interesting to see a caste system of sorts develop among the monsters. There are definite prejudices between them, stemming from long-held rivalries or hatreds. For example, the vampires are blamed for the murder and the mob quickly descends on the blood-suckers to demand justice, throwing out insults and snide comments.
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In many ways, Dark Ark is like a prison drama. Instead of inmates from rival factions, there are assorted monsters. Every action is treated like a power play, trying to show dominance and avoiding weakness at all costs. Shrae is the gruff warden keeping everyone in line, but there is a riot brewing. His grip on control is tenuous, especially as tensions rise higher than the tide.
The sheer variety of the beasts in Dark Ark continues to impress. There are some that steal the spotlight here and there, but they're all great to look at. There are so many that I can't name them all. If you can think of a monster, it's in there. There are even fairies. These are all the creatures that Noah didn't gather on his ark.
Doe's colors create a moody, almost exploitation era feel to the book. There are bold reds, purples, and yellows, as if the ship is lit by strange bulbs from a creepy night club. This contrasts nicely with the rain outside. It's like Shrae is transported to another world when he heads downstairs, completely different than the normal one on the ship's deck.
Dark Ark grabbed me with the first issue. This is where it tightens its grip. The stakes are raised considerably as we see just how quick the monsters are to violence. We may have started with one corpse, but it is not the only one by the end of this chapter and I'm sure there will be plenty more before the series is through.