In Review: Dark Ark #10

Many big payoffs in this issue as the Dark Ark tries to stay afloat.

The cover: The Dark Ark appears to have found land at last, now that the Lord’s rains have ended. However welcome this setting is it is not to be trusted for its shape is demonic. This is a nice tease by interior artist Juan Doe. The land looks inhospitable not only for its shape and rocky construction, but the oranges make it look as though it’s decaying. Placing this land mass in a sea of putrid green only makes it more sickly. Completely in line with this title. Overall grade: A

The story: Cullen Bunn’s “Famine or Feast” brings several subplots to a close, while the larger one takes a surprising turn. The book opens “Before the flood…” as Khalee finds her friend Janris under a rock as the rains begin. She’s worried about what will happen to her taking refuge aboard the ship of her friend’s father. She’s unsure how long she’ll remain alive on the vessel, but Khalee says at least she’ll be alive. As they make their way to board, one person in line yells at them for not taking their proper place in the back. Khalee says, “Do you know who I am? If you do, then you know who my father is, too. You wouldn’t want me telling him you stood in my way, would you?” He instantly recoils, apologizing. Khalee’s head drops as she mutters, “The end…changes everything.” In the present, Shrae, the builder and captain of the Dark Ark, is in the ocean, alive only due to his sorcerer abilities, surrounded by the rotting corpses of the flood who demand his flesh. When he tells them who hr is and what his purpose is they want to be spared. A turn of the page reveals where the title vessel is: at a standstill as the mother of all monsters –Echidna — roars at the ship for a sacrifice. The monsters in the hold have come to the deck ready to offer up the humans to please their mother. This is where Bunn has some surprises, the first being who should be given away. Page 8 has an expected moment occur, but it’s interrupted by another character who has plenty of justification for stopping the sacrifice. A conflict begins on 10 and takes an incredible turn on 13. Bunn shows himself to be incredibly clever with the action on 14 and 15. This triumphant, horrible scene is briefly interrupted by a flashback of Khalee and her father, with the daughter asking a crucial question. An incredible twist is revealed on 19, which will have repercussions in a later issue. The final page had the biggest surprise of all. I was shocked. All I could think after reading the last bit of dialogue was ‘Already?’ This issue contains a lot of payoff. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: I love the work of Juan Doe and I love the look of this book. The issue opens with a raindrop falling into a pool of water, telling the reader that the text establishing the scene setting should have started with the word just. Janris is discovered under a rocky overhang, as if the weight of the world hangs over her, and it does. Both girls are sympathetic looking, with their eyes down and their faces empty of emotion in preparation for what they will do next. The partial double-paged splash on Pages 2 and 3 show the long line of people waiting to enter the ark. I like how the figurehead of the ship protrudes slightly off the page, intruding into the black border. It’s like it can’t wait to get going. The sickly yellows used to color this page give the action an oppressive feel, which is what is in store for the unknowing humans. When the action moves underwater with Shrae, dark greens take over. This gives the setting a deep depth, and allows the light green around the sorcerer to stand out. It also provides the perfect contrast for the hellish red eyes of the damned to pop. Echidna is a monstrous sized lump of grotesque flesh. She’s colored in different shades of crimson to have her take the focus whenever she appears. The skies above the ark are in light green, reinforcing its use as water, which is the Lord’s curse for forty days. The tease in the final panel on 13 is great, with colors assisting with the foreshadowing. The large double-paged splash on 14 and 15 is awesome — it’s graphic, ferocious, and epic. There are seven small panels that are atop this splash, but they don’t distract from the massive action. What they do is show the reactions of the characters witnessing this chaos. The flashback that follows is in green, darker greens than the previous pages, implying that the rainfall is heavier and that their conversation is going to have depth. I love the power shown in the second panel on the penultimate page. Notice how the panels on the last page progressively shrink, until the final panel makes a major revelation. Really, really cool. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Ryane Hill creates scene settings, dialogue, yells, cursed speech, monster speech, and sounds. The scene settings are in uneven letters that give them a frantic feel which suits the book. The cursed speech of the damned is similar enough to normal humans, but tweaked just enough to show they’re no longer human. The dialogue for the monsters is in a thin scrawl that makes each of their words a visual abomination. It’s very effective. I’m liking what Hill is doing. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Many big payoffs in this issue as the Dark Ark tries to stay afloat. I love how daughter Khalee is a fully developed character who might be the death of her father and how some of the monsters are more humane than those aboard the ship. The visuals are amazing, full of horrors and humanity. I still believe that this series can’t end well for anyone, though the final panel assumes it might. A must read for fans of horror. Overall grade: A+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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