"Dark Ark #1" 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 September 20th, 2017
We’ve all heard the story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood that decimated the planet for forty long days. Noah gathered two animals of every species about his big boat to keep them all safe. But what about the monsters? Where did the vampires, unicorns, and dragons go? They went on a different ship, of course. The sorcerer Shrae was commanded by the dark lord to create one of his own; an anti-ark, if you will. That’s where Dark Ark picks up and it’s just as cool as it sounds.
The very idea of a big boat filled with monsters is rife with possibilities. In the hands of writer Cullen Bunn, it delivers on those early and quickly. The premise is explained organically from the jump without having to sift through an entire biblical history or long drawn-out exposition.
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Shrae and his family are at the center of Dark Ark. They have a connection to Noah’s Ark, which adds a level of intensity to the comic that makes you immediately invested in Shrae’s story. Yes, he practices the dark arts, but he’s a family man at heart. He’s just trying to do what’s right for his wife and kids. If that means building a massive ship and carting off dozens, if not hundreds of literal monsters, so be it.
Artist Juan Doe captures the epic scale of the ark in the opening pages. You get a sense of just how large this vessel is, as it needs to contain so many varied species of supernatural creatures. There’s an impressive double-page spread that gives you a sampling of the inhabitants. It includes almost everything, including many monsters I’ve never seen before.
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Each of the monsters is very angular in nature, making them more frightening. Although they have no reason to hide, they're often in the shadows, peering outward menacingly from the darkness. This is a nice contrast to the humans who appear pure and innocent, like freshly laid snow.
I'm not sure how long into the forty days Dark Ark is set, however spending any amount of time cramped on a boat with a bunch of supernatural creatures is bound to be a tense experience. Somehow, with all these monsters, the human element shines through. The comic delivers a one-two punch with terrifying beasts and personal, relatable characters. It sets a very high bar right out of the gate.