"Darkness Visible #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Mike Carey & Arvind Ethan David
Illustrated by Livio Ramondelli
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 19th, 2017
We once again take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to turn our attention to the past. Darkness Visible has an awesome premise where demons and humans share an uneasy alliance in our world. The story centers on Detective Daniel Aston, who has just invited a demon into his body, and how this will affect everything around him. This takes a backseat for a flashback issue where we learn the past of Glory Kullinek, a forensic scientist that has become a major player in the series. It’s nice to have, but do we need this to tell the main arc?
I can’t be that angry about this because this issue is solidly written. Mike Carey & Arvind Ethan David craft a startling background for Glory, who started as a young doctor named Indra in the Incurables Ward of a hospital. She treated patients that chose to merge with demons, but failed. These are people that are permanently stuck in mid-mutation. Picture a Transformer only partway through its change from a truck to a robot. That’s a horrible way to live and that’s made of metal. Now imagine that same concept, but with flesh and bone.
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Livio Ramondelli brings this to life in gut-wrenching detail. The ward is filled with pain and desperation as patients sit waiting for death. Some are bed-ridden, unable to move due to a massive, bug-like limb or shriveled appendages. One person is covered in small faces. This is body horror at its best.
While Ramondelli excels at showing these body-rending deformities, there are a number of issues with perspective. Characters are often shown too large or too small or with strangely sized body parts. Some appear flat, like a three-dimensional figure squished between two panes of glass. This makes for some awkward panels.
The treatment of these patients shows the beginnings of the discrimination against demons and those that invite them to this world. These patients are treated like lowly drug addicts who brought this on themselves. They are sub-human.
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Glory’s tale presents a unique spin on the demon / human relationship. Instead of one being dominant over the other, the two merge to become an entirely new being. It shows how the two races can work together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
This issue of Darkness Visible represents the end of the first arc. While this is a nice interlude, it’s a major momentum killer. This is doubly unfortunate because it’s not the first time the creators have done this. Issue #3 is told in a similar fashion. This information serves to further flesh out this world, but it comes at a cost of taking the attention away from the main character and his ongoing story. These would have been better served coming later as one-shots or broken up as backup stories in the main issues.