Dark Ark #1

by Olivier Roth on September 20, 2017

Dark Ark #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Juan Doe
Published by: Aftershock Comics


Have you ever wondered why our world is bereft of any of those fantastic creatures talked about in legends? Where are the vampires? Where are the manticores? Lamia? Unicorns even? Could it be that they used to exist in our world but that one cataclysmic event wiped them all out?


That’s a question that seems to be at the heart of Dark Ark, a new, creator-owned series by one of today’s most prolific writers: Cullen Bunn. With the help of Juan Doe (Fantastic Four in Puerto Rico, The Legion of Monsters) Bunn spins a “What If?” tale of how these creatures “may” have disappeared from the Earth. In case someone has not yet made the connection, the story deals with the Biblical cataclysm that was the flooding of the entire world by the Man upstairs and how a certain Ark was able to save two of each animal.


But what if there was a second ark? A dark ark? What if Noah was not the only man entrusted with saving portions of this Earth and that this second man, Shrae, a former sorcerer, is tasked by a demon (an assumption on my part), to save the more supernatural, legendary creatures of the Earth. The one condition? They are not to disturb Noah’s Ark for any reason. If they do, Shrae and his family will be cast out and the saved creatures will more than likely perish in this flood.


Two subplots emerge from this debut issue. The first is the growing unrest among the population of creatures that have been saved. Bunn only briefly alludes to this, but there seems to be two factions that have been formed: one led by the vampires, the other by the Naga. There is a tenuous peace that is being upheld, but Bunn drops a few hints throughout the issue that nothing is as what it seems, and that even just a small spark may create an explosive situation.


The second involves one of Shrae’s children Khalee. This subplot looks at the consequences of trying to save these creatures on the dark ark. Namely, these creatures have to eat and their source of food is, well, humans. Khalee, even though she is protected, doesn’t agree with this recourse and keeps questioning her father’s tactics.


Juan Doe’s pencils, inks and colours bring to life Bunn’s story. He has always had a very distinct style - a big plus in my book - that fits almost too perfectly the monster aesthetic. The monsters are all distinct and he wisely chooses a different colour palette for most so that they can stand out in his massive group shots and the darker tones used throughout the issue also help set the stage that the world is in a dark place now.


Dark Age issue 1 is a strong first issue from Bunn and Doe and sets the stage for what seems to be a pretty crazy ride for the reader. Bunn smartly chose to start a few different plot threads to keep the reader wanting more. At first, this issue was not even on my radar, but now, I can’t wait to see what comes next. That is the mark of a great first issue.

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