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Dark Ages #1

by Forrest.H on August 13, 2014

 

Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: I.N.J. Culbard
Published by: Dark Horse

 

Deep space horrors of the lovecraftian variety! The dead coming back to life! Suspicious monks! and...knights? Yes. Yes. Yes and yes. One hundred times yes. Dark Ages #1 surprises and delights despite a few shortcomings.

 

Written by Dan Abnett who wrote some of the most well reviewed and concise Marvel events in recent history: Annihilation Nova and Annihilation Conquest, which are now even more popular since Guardians of the Galaxy’s success, Abnett now turns his attention to writing a short 4 issue run for Dark Horse about mercenary knights in the years leading up to what will become the Hundred Years War. The twist? They are soon besieged by Mignola and Lovecraft inspired beasts emerging from a deep space object. The art is handled by I.N.J. (Ian) Culbard who has a had a quiet but successful run in doing one-shot art and the like for a multitude of writers.

 

Abnett’s writing is appropriate here, ripe with old timey words and subtle hints to real life events. If anything, though, there’s too much of it. The first few pages are wordy and indulgent, leaving the reader confused until about the 6th or-so page. Delving into the terminology and ideas used is of course a reader’s choice and some readers do revel in that accurate and world building wording but other more casual readers may find it too lofty. There are a multitude of interesting characters introduced in quick succession including the group’s co-captain named Lucifer and the captain himself, Hawkherst and there’s enough told about them that we care about them or at the very least understand them.  Ultimately, the goods outweigh the bads here as Abnett introduces us to a lot of characters successfully and creates a great tension as the stakes increase later in the issue including an interesting twist involving a suspicious group of silent monks.

 

Culbard’s art compliments the story well. It’s minimal but colors are used well and the action scenes tell a successful story across the panels. His monster design is a frightening and fitting love child of Lovecraft and Mignola but doesn’t come across as too much of a rip-off. Occasionally, background art was obviously an afterthought as characters not at the forefront lack succinct details. Most importantly, the aliens really feel alien, different colors are used, different linework is seen, and, there is a stark difference between the knight’s world and whatever world these beasts have come from. Culbard sucks you in, shows you what he wants to show you and doesn’t waste time on much else which may be either good or bad depending on your leanings.



Dark Ages 1 is good, not great. That being said, there’s 3 issues left and Abnett and Culbard clearly know what they’re doing. Now that the stakes are raised for our knights, Abnett and Culbard need to keep it up and Dark Ages could quickly become something to talk about.

Our Score:

9/10

A Look Inside