I didn’t know anything going into Dark Ark: After The Flood #1 other than it had a suitably metal title and that it was written by Cullen Bunn. That was enough for me to give it a shot, having greatly enjoyed Bunn’s work at Dark Horse Comics, when he wrote Conan The Slayer – the last series before the license for everyone’s favorite barbarian was sold to Marvel Comics. I had no idea that this was the sequel to something and this first issue does nothing to inform you of that fact. There’s no summary of the story so far on the title page or a blurb on the inner cover.
Here’s the short, short version for those of you, like me, who haven’t read Dark Ark. Presumably you are familiar with the story of Noah, the man who was charged by God with building an ark and gathering two of every animal so that the world could be rebuilt after a great flood. Dark Ark suggests that there was, well, a dark ark, built by a sorcerer named Shrae, to contain all of the monsters of the world and ensure that evil would survive to plague the children of Adam and Eve in the world to be built after the flood.
This brings us to Dark Ark: After The Flood, which finds the dark ark having discovered land. Unfortunately, Shrae has died and his daughter, aspiring sorceress Khalee, has taken charge of the community of nightmares and put them to work trying to build the beginnings of a new society. Yet the dark powers that guided her father have other plans and instruct Shrae to pursue a new goal – guiding the good people and beasts aboard Noah’s Ark to the new land the dark ark has found.
Juan Doe’s artwork perfectly suits this twisted concept. There is an inherent darkness to Doe’s work, yet he avoids the gritty line-work and heavy inks that are normally utilized for a comic like this one. Indeed, Doe’s character designs are simple and all the better for conveying emotion for that fact. While new readers may stumble a bit getting into this world, Doe’s artwork does much to make the characters relatable through their body language and facial expressions.
As for Bunn’s script, it is a bit of a mixed bag. He does a great job establishing Khalee’s backstory, both in the present and in flashbacks revealing how she came to be adopted by Shrae. He is less successful, however, in developing Khalee as a character and giving her any sense of personality even as he is establishing her goals. What few supporting characters are introduced have the opposite problem – they have lots of personality, but little is done to introduce them, as Bunn’s script assumes that you’ve already read Dark Ark and know who everyone is.
This isn’t jarring enough to make the story unreadable, thankfully, but this is not a book you can just speed-read and be done with it in three minutes. You actually have to think about this story, but there’s enough wild mythological ideas and solid artwork to hold your interest and leave you wanting more.
Dark Ark: After The Flood #1 releases on October 2nd, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.