"Dark Ark #7" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Juan Doe
Lettered by Ryane Hill
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 6th, 2018
Shrae's ark full of monsters is tied to Noah's with all the normal animals. If Noah fails, so does Shrae. So, when he learns that his counterpart is in trouble, Shrae sends some flyers out to investigate and finds a kraken following Noah's ship, picking off creatures here and there as sacrifices. It's a moving restaurant for this creature. Shrae has to make a tough decision as to how to save the other ark, especially since he had mistakenly sent away the angels that had come down to answer Noah's prayers.
I mentioned in my review for Dark Ark #6 how sympathetic Shrae has become as a character. This is surprising because he's arguably the bad guy. He's a necromancer saving a horde of monsters, yet his story is riveting. He's doing what he has to in order to save his family. Those are noble intentions, although his actions are rather sinister.
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This aspect of the story is explored in further flashbacks as we witness Shrae's daughter Khalee meeting a young woman named Janris. The two become fast friends and Khalee suggests that Janris come help build the ark. Fast forward to today and Janris is held captive aboard the ark to be used as an eventual sacrifice or food for the monsters. These creatures have to eat, after all. What kind of man would kidnap his daughter's friend for such a nefarious reason? One that will do anything to keep his family safe.
This is shown in brutal detail by the final pages of the issue, where the danger of the sea monster forces his hand. You can tell that he's not happy about this decision, but he's left with no choice. It culminates in one of the most ominous final lines a comic could have, filling me with anticipation for the next issue.
Juan Doe's artwork stands on its own to tell chunks of the story. He can say so much with a single panel. For example, when the flyers return to tell Shrae what they've witnessed, the necromancer asked about Dezra, who did not return. He doesn't receive an answer. Instead, we get a shot of the water surging below, reminding us of how Dezra met her end.
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The big sea monster is not seen in the same way as the last issue, but its presence is known. We see Noah struggling aboard his ship, praying over and over again for God to intervene. His hope lies in this savior that is not coming. Then we pan back for a double-page spread to show the massive shadow of the beast lurking just beneath the ark. Remember, this ark is large in and of itself. It houses two of every animal on the planet, right? It looks like a fly compared to this creature.
It helps that Doe colors these pages with intense shades. That double-page spread is shown in a bright orange, like the fires of Hell are circling Noah's ark and there is absolutely no hope around. The flashback scenes are colored yellow, like a faded memory. The other present-day pages are dark and gloomy as the rain beats down on the ships' decks.
My only qualm with Doe's artwork is that occasionally his faces are poorly defined. They sometimes look like little more than two dots and a line. It would be one thing if this were happening in the smaller panels, but it seems to happen on images of all sizes.
Dark Ark delivers a solid balance of terrifying monsters, tense drama, and incredible characters. This is the kind of comic that will make your jaw drop. Writer Cullen Bunn crafts a white-knuckled ride through the Great Flood with all kinds of untold horrors waiting both over and under the surface.