"Dark Ark #8" 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 July 4th, 2018
Shrae built an ark to rival Noah’s and filled it with monsters at the behest of the Dark Lord. He’s saving all kinds of supernatural creatures from the Great Flood…but what happens when their mother comes calling? An old god is lurking in the murky depths, preying on Noah’s ark. If Shrae hopes to survive, he has to save Noah, and that means bargaining with this ancient one.
We caught a glimpse of this monster in the previous issue, but those images did not do it justice. Artist Juan Doe reveals Echidna, the mother of beasts, in all of her tentacle-covered glory. Shrae lands on the water, but he’s really standing on just a small piece of Echidna. She rises up out of the water like a skyscraper made of swirling blood-red tendrils. She would give Godzilla a run for his money. Shrae looks like an ant before such a creation.
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The part that really puts Echidna over the edge is her lower half. It seems to blend together, like a mass of flesh and sinew that flows into the water. It’s tough to understand where she ends and the ocean begins.
Echida’s mystique extends to her speech as well. Her dialogue comes through in these misshapen word balloons, as if it’s piercing through to Shrae’s soul. Letterer Ryane Hill makes the balloons a middle ground between those of the humans and those of the monsters. They’re a little more elegant coming out of her mouth than her children.
While Dark Ark has focused on this story from Christianity, it’s interesting to see how an older god is pulled into the fray. It would stand to reason that if there are monsters like vampires and dragons, that there would be deities too. The flood could have wiped them out, but Echidna is made from stronger stuff.
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The negotiation between Shrae and Echidna is harrowing. Shrae is in a difficult position, as he has everything to lose. He needs to convince this monster to leave these innocent people alone and he doesn’t have much to bargain with. If she calls his bluff, he’s done for. This is just the latest in an ever-growing list of desperate acts he’s performed to save his family. When you look at it through that lens, Shrae is rather noble, although he’s doing all this at the cost of the lives of others.
Dark Ark continues to up the ante with every issue. Each time I think writer Cullen Bunn has topped himself with an incredible twist or outstanding reveal, the next chapter reaches new heights. At this point, I have no idea how Shrae or Noah are going to survive the rest of the Great Flood.