In Review: Dark Ark #12

God's punishment on man has ended, but for those upon the Dark Ark the hell is only beginning.

The cover: Between the Dark Ark and land, seemingly arising from the crashing waves, is a dark figure with claws, horns, and glowing eyes. What this mysterious being is will become incredibly important to the men and monsters on this damned vessel. The coloring of the ark and land are a sickly green which allows the orange background to make the silhouette of the unknown creature pop. Juan Doe does a great job on this frontpiece. Overall grade: A

The story: The rains have stopped. The waves are calm. Two demons fly above the Dark Ark as it moves smoothly through the waters. Within it Shrae sits alone. He stares at his his hands, turning them over until he clenches them. He bows his head and says, “Fool” to no one. The cause of his anger with himself is locked away in hammered shut room. His wife Ada is behind the door beating on it. “Let me out! Please, husband! Children! Anyone!…I saved my grandchild! Don’t punish me like this!” She lays her head on the door that will not be opened. She opens her eyes and they’re revealed to be red on black. She opens her mouth to reveal a vampire’s teeth. “Not when I’m so hungry!” Her son Avner hears her and rises to go to her, but is held back by his wife who tells him, “…our baby needs us.” Writer Cullen Bunn has put this family through hell, carrying the creatures of Satan, but he’s only just getting things going for this issue. On the deck of the ship Janris tells manticore Kruul that she’s worried about Khalee. The beast states he’s not happy because he’s now a father, his son born last issue. Janris goes to her friend just as Khalee spies something in the sky. What becomes of this thing at the top of Page 6 is horrible, but absolutely appropriate. What they find in the water sends shockwaves through the creatures in the hull, with vampire Nex scheming and manipulating the other monsters. Shrae is contacted by his master and what is said could lead to further troubles. The book ends with one of the monsters that can survive under the light of sun journeying somewhere and discovering something deadly. Just as I think I’ve got this series figured out, Bunn throws another dark curveball at the reader. I love it. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: Juan Doe opens this book with an unusual image: the Dark Ark on a calm sea, though the waters that surround it are an eerie green. Shrae’s entrance into the book has him mad and his focusing on his hands in silence has the reader understand that he blames himself for something, given his one word of text on this page. When the captain drops his head he is like a man lost. Ada is a wholly sympathetic character as she begs and pleads from behind that locked door. But when she reveals her eyes and shows her open maw she is an abomination. Kruul is a wonderful brooding beast in this issue, with him commanding attention not only for his size but his demeanor. The heavenly image of the being at the bottom of Page 5 is great and perfectly sets up the horrific actions and colors at the top of 6. The creatures within the hull of the ship are a ghastly green and black with orange eyes, with the vampires having orange collars on their garb to make them stand out against the mass of monsters. The reds and oranges on Pages 10 – 11 are thrilling. I like how the characters on 16 have changed colors to become a fiery red, reminding the reader of 10 and 11 and emphasizing their anxiousness. Colors are slight teases of dangers to come at the bottom of 18 and these same colors dominate on 19 for the horrific actions that occur. The final illustration of the issue is a full-paged splash showing two monstrous characters that are primarily in silhouette, teasing much to come in the next issue. I like how these characters are in green, linking them to those on the dark ark, but are lighter in color to connote their difference to them. The oranges at the bottom of the illustration make the violence that have occurred all the more grotesque. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Whispered speech, dialogue, creature speech, sounds, and the three word tease for next issue are created by Ryane Hill. The whispered speech isn’t spoken by characters that are hurt, but by those that speak to reinforce how they feel about themselves. This speech is a smaller font for the reader to recognize it’s said in softer tones. The creature speech throughout this book is in a scrawl that looks as though it crawled out of the underworld. When the same font is employed by an individual on 10 and 11 the font is made larger to show the strength of the speaker and it is absolutely effective in communicating this individual’s might. The sounds are creepy looking, with SKREEEEK, SKREEK, and REEEK being terrifying. Overall grade: A+

The final line: God’s punishment on man has ended, but for those upon the Dark Ark the hell is only beginning. A killer story with scheming characters, monsters waiting to spring, and something deadly on land. The visuals are awesome with horrors wrought equally with art and colors. This is one terrible voyage you’ll enjoy taking. Recommended. 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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