In Review: Dark Ark #13

Creepy as hell, but a joy to read.

The cover: The three large entities that have been shooting doves and were seen last issue killing one of the first monsters to fly about freely on dry land make their presence clear to the reader. They resemble horned demons and their eyes glow orange. They look down upon unseen others and those mysterious individuals’ fates seem to increase this unholy trio’s hate. The colors are black, yellow, and orange, giving the entire frontpiece a fiery demeanor. Another hit out of the ballpark by artist Juan Doe. Overall grade: A

The story: Land has been found and the Dark Ark landed. Its monsters have raced ashore screaming and howling in joy. Their pleasure is not shared by the captain and his crew that have brought them through the forty day flood. Shrae’s son asks his father, “Father — Now that we’ve landed…the monsters…won’t they turn against us?” The captain is forced to acknowledge, “They will. They must. It is in their nature.” He continues by saying there is nothing they can do tonight, so it is best to allow the creatures to celebrate on the shore. But three creatures, seen on the cover, watch from a distance. One checks his bowstring to ensure his weapon will fire true. Cullen Bunn then moves to the conversation that long time readers knew must occur: Shrae speaks with Nex, the vampire that he dragged behind the ark for several issues. What the former captain asks is heartfelt, but the vampire answers him overwhelming glee. The final two panels on Page 6 are outstanding, showing that both characters still have fire stirring in them. The teens are then focused on, observing something horrible, though unquestionably believable. A familiar large creature makes a dramatic entrance, showing that his promises are not to be broken. I love the creatures that ended Page 11 and what happens to them on 12, showing that all creatures have other obstacles to overcome. For all the shocks and horrors this series has had, I was surprised by an action on 16, with the dialogue dripping with anger, pain, and life. I was unprepared for where the conflict turned on 17 and the horror that ended 18. The change in time on 19 changes much of where upcoming action can take place and who will be involved, while the final page has one character vowing vengeance. Bunn is creating such delicious dark magic. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: Also creating masterful work are the visuals by Juan Doe. The first two panels show the clearest images of the nightmares whose lives Shrae and his family have been preserving in these end times. The third panel shows Shrae and his son and their faces display the fear and resolution their futures now have that they’ve made land. Pages 2 and 3 are a full-paged splash that show the demonic Wild Rumpus as they celebrate their freedom under the moon. As the beasties have been on this boat for twelve issues in a dark space, this is a fantastic visual payoff to their unveiling. Having them prance about under that starry sky and huge full moon makes their revelry infectious. There are two inserted panels in the lower right that moves to a distant location and slowly reveals the trio of tall threats who are revealed on Page 4 from a low angle, increasing their monstrous appearance. Nex has the classical attributes of a vampire, with pasty white face, pointed ears, and a black cape with red lining, but his mouth is full of many more sharp teeth than often seen, making him more terrible looking. The final three panels on 6 have him looking ferocious and Shrae unafraid. The character that enters on 10 looks terrific, both in his design and colors, designating him as the focus for the reader. The action that occurs on 12 is shocking, graphic, and absolutely perfect. The reds that punctuate the action are fantastic. The final panel on the same page is a shower of danger that looks terrific against their intended targets. The coloring on the top of 13 is amazing, giving the illustration the horrific gold star of the issue. I like how the same reds are used two panels later to show that the same creatures are responsible for that sound’s origin. The level of violence that follows is wonderful and staggering, but it’s only a lead up to the massive shock on 18. The change in colors on 19 is dramatic and beautiful. The final page holds so much promise for the next issue and I know Doe will make it memorable. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Ryane Hill is the issue’s letterer and her work is also wonderful. She creates the monsters’ speech, dialogue, sounds, yells, whispered dialogue, and the tease for next issue. I love that several of the most grotesque looking creatures have their own unique font, which visually separates them further from humans. Their screams that come late in the issue seem to explode off the page. There are several sounds in this issue, small and large, and they are perfect matches for the actions that occur, especially on Pages 12 – 16. There’s one page that has whispered dialogue for a dramatic moment and it pulls the reader closer into the page, making the emotion of the page absolutely stronger. And it’s not brought up in other’s reviews, but Hill deserves mention of it here: those final three words that tease next issue look incredible. It’s a frantic fearful looking font that leaves the reader feeling shaken after all that’s occurred in this issue and promises that next issue will continue the fright. It’s perfection. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Book passage on Dark Ark as soon as you can if you want to see horrors you’ve never dreamed. I never thought I would feel sorry for the blasphemes on this boat until what occurs in this issue. The story surprises and scares, the visuals are vibrant and vicious, and the lettering is lively and laudable. This book is a joy to read. Creepy as hell, but a joy. Overall grade: A+ 

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Dark-Ark-13/digital-comic/744592?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the cover 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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