"Dark Ark #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Juan Doe
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 2nd, 2018
We're all familiar with the story of how Noah's Ark carried two of every species through the Great Flood that decimated the world for forty days and forty nights. Shrae's ark is lesser known, as it was full of monsters and creatures that lurk in the shadows. Although the two ships are separate and shouldn't necessarily meet, they are intrinsically linked. If Noah's ark fails, so will Shrae's, as his beasts won't have anything to eat when they arrive on dry land. You can imagine the worry that spreads through the ship when news of Noah's troubles reaches them.
For the first time, we get a glimpse of the past and what led Shrae to accept this unlikely mission. Dark Ark shows us some flashbacks to a time before the Great Flood as Noah builds his ark and Shrae looks on and takes notes. Shrae dabbles with the dark magic, striking fear into the townsfolk, but he needs them to build the ship that will save his life. His family sees him work, lying to the people to get what he wants.
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This serves as an interesting reminder that Shrae is technically the bad guy in this story. He's evil, right? His ark will bring nothing but death and bloodshed when it lands, so we shouldn't want him to succeed. Writer Cullen Bunn has crafted such a compelling character in Shrae. He's doing all this to save his family, however, that means he also has to save this array of monsters.
Doe differentiates the flashback scenes with a faded, yellowish hue, like an old photograph. The scenes in the present also have an eerie glow to them, perhaps underlying the imminent danger or the deep sense of foreboding that permeates through the entire tale.
Noah's plight is intriguing. We see it from afar as a group of winged beasts perform some reconnaissance for Shrae. As with previous issues of Dark Ark, artist Juan Doe showcases a wide variety of creatures. I don't know what to call some of them. There are giant flies, vampire-like monsters, and demonic beings complete with horns and hooves. They stalk the ark like vultures, watching from above to see what Noah is up to.
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If you thought those things were something, just wait until you see what's lurking beneath the water's surface. A Lovecraftian entity swarms the ship, practically engulfing it in tendrils covered in creepy eyes, spikes, and jagged mouths. Those are nothing compared to what is below with a massive jaw with rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. This is like the kraken merged with Cthulhu.
This brings up an interesting point about not only Dark Ark, but the Noah's Ark story in general. What happened to the aquatic animals? They obviously didn't need to get on board the ship because they were at home in the water. What other supernatural creatures are swimming down below? Will we see more like this? Or maybe a Loch Ness Monster? This could present a larger threat than any of the things aboard Shrae's ship.
Dark Ark takes some awesome and terrifying turns as it begins its second arc. Shrae has survived a vampire mutiny aboard his ship but now has to keep the humans on Noah's ark safe or his entire family will perish. That's a pretty tough job when there are even scarier monsters swimming beneath the waves.