"Dark Ark #5" 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 January 31st, 2018
Shrae and his ark full of monsters have just survived a vicious attempted mutiny by some vampires. Now the dark sorcerer stands face to face with a group of angels, sent to answer some prayers. Shrae has to think fast to talk his way out of this. If the angels figure out who he is and what his ship is really carrying, they'll destroy him in a heartbeat.
Artist Juan Doe's design for the angels is so creepy. They loom above the ship's deck like ominous figures. They glow with an unearthly shine, like you'd have to squint just to look at them. Their black wings are spread wide as they look down upon Shrae both literally and figuratively. They are clearly annoyed that they've been called down to answer some prayers for help, only to find Shrae in no need of assistance. This is where the other shoe drops. The angels think he's Noah.
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Dark Ark #5 calls back to a very important fact mentioned in the first issue that I had almost forgot about. Shrae's ark is linked to Noah's. If Noah's ark fails, his will too because the monsters won't have any food once the flood ends. Think about this for a minute. If the angels came because Noah was in trouble and Shrae just sent them away, that means there is no help coming anymore.
This comes up in an unsettling conversation between Shrae and Satan himself at the end of the issue. If the angels are bright signs of foreboding, Satan is the fiery pit they were warning of. Although he's just a visage summoned by Shrae, the dark lord stands tall and overpowering over the man. The conversation between the two flows well as the panels bounce between them. You get each one's reaction as the talk gets more heated. It leads to a great reveal that I can't wait to see play out.
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Earlier, while Shrae is dealing with the angels, the monsters are below deck, huddled in silence. There's one creature floating around that fills everyone in on what's going on because it has a superior sense of hearing. It's rather creepy, as it's little more than a head and a spine flying around. This is a little too convenient for a plot device because you'd think this thing would have come to light earlier in the arc when Shrae was looking for a murderer. It's implied that it can hear just about everything on the ship, including some juicy gossip, so why didn't it mention anything when it really mattered?
Dark Ark presents an exciting new spin on a biblical story we all know well. It does so with intrigue, mystery, and a fair-amount of monsters. The very idea of an ark filled with all manner of supernatural beast...and a couple of unicorns... is pretty great. In the hands of writer Cullen Bunn and artist Juan Doe, it's an awesome, tense comic well worth your time.