In Review: Dark Ark #6

Bunn constantly throws the reader into the maelstrom if they think they know the direction of this series.

The covers: This was a very surprising A cover by artist Juan Doe. Instead of focusing on the vessel that inspired the title of this series, the ark that Noah has built is the image for this frontpiece. The ark is making its way toward the reader across a calm sea, free of the rain that is drowning the world. An eerie green light surrounds the ship, which also has two large wings protruding from its sides. It looks as though God has deemed this His ship. This cover is glorious, grand, and gorgeous. As much as I like this, and I’m a tremendous fan of Doe’s work, the B cover by Nat Jones is more to my liking because its content is the exact opposite. This features a character in a cloak bearing a staff standing at the bow of the Dark Ark, which is identified by the ghastly figurehead below him. Barely visible on the deck are silhouettes of horned creatures with glowing red eyes. In the dark skies flying demons can be seen accompanying this vessel. This is dark, frightening, and fabulous. All that’s missing from this cover is ominous music. Overall grades: A A and B A+

The story: Stepping momentarily back in time before the Flood, the reader sees Noah trying to convince men to help him finish his ark in time before the rain falls. Sadly, many of the men are doubting their leader. High above on a cliff, Shrae and his son watch as Noah’s work progresses. The son wonders how his father and family can build an ark as equally large for the monsters of the world. “If we do not, my son,” Shrae says, “then we will die.” His son responds, “The Lord is going to drown the world. Evil will be washed away. If we save these creatures…If evil continues to thrive…will the Lord not just kill the world once more?” His question remains unanswered because writer Cullen Bunn moves to present as several supernatural creatures follow Noah’s ark to see what ails its captain. They witness something shocking that they were not prepared to see. After this surprise, Bunn moves back to the past where two of Shrae’s children join his father as he goes someplace he’s avoided. Pages 14 – 16, though not set on the Dark Ark, are really strong moments as the children of Shrae argue what their paths should be. As surprising as what the monsters see on Noah’s ark is the surprise on 16. It’s extremely difficult to argue against the final words on the page. The final four pages return to the present, where two more surprises occur. I really enjoy this untold tale of humanity. Bunn constantly throws the reader into the maelstrom if they think they know the direction of this series. This makes for a thrilling read. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Juan Doe handles all aspects of this book’s visuals and they look awesome. The introduction of the incomplete ark have it looking like a sad thing. Combined with the sickly green sky, it seems as though Noah’s venture is doomed for failure. When the point of view moves to Shrae and his son, their massive beards and stature has them looking like Neanderthals in comparison to Noah and his men on the first page. Giving this pair a yellow sky creates a more hostile tone, which matches their task. In the present, the creatures that stalk Noah’s ship are black with red and orange eyes or fiery red flesh to match their demonic shapes. One of these monsters becomes the focus on Page 5 and the final panel has its bugged out eyes enlarge at what it spies. Pages 8 and 9 feature a partial double-paged splash that’s a shocker, even though it was mentioned on 7. It’s a wow moment because it far exceeds what was teased. The reactions of the monsters to what they’ve witnessed is perfect. The six pages that follow focus on the children of Shrae as they accompany him somewhere. Notice how the sky begins in the yellows from the second and third pages, but as they near their destination the sky goes green, to mirror the opening locale, but turn yellow again once Shrae speaks. This manipulation of the sky visually guides the reader to feel a specific way. Back in the present, Pages 18 and 19 are a true double-paged spread with a monstrous reveal that’s spectacular. These two pages and the final two contain no dialogue or narration, instead allowing the visuals to tell the story. The final page definitely communicates to the readers the trouble ahead for the monsters and their ship. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, monsters’ speech, a whisper, and a sound are the contributions of Ryane Hill to this issue. The scene settings are in balloonish font to give it a very classic horror feel of the chillers of the 1950’s and 60’s. The monsters’ speech is slightly different from the dialogue of the humans, just enough to set them apart visually from those the Lord is cleansing the world of. As the individual on Pages 18 and 19 is further seen in this series, I’m sure there will be more need for sound effects. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is a beautifully blasphemous book that will have you cheering for the nightmares that are trying to avoid the wrath of God. The story is epic, surprising, and devilishly good fun. The visuals are a match to the scope of the story, making man and monster impressive. One’s horror collection is not complete unless¬†Dark Ark is on their shelf. Overall grade: A

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To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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