This week we set sail on Aftershock Comics’ Dark Ark, and head on the run with the new Image series Gasolina!
Dark Ark #1 (Aftershock Comics)
We all know the story of Noah’s Ark, but what if there was another ark that carried the worst kinds of monsters into the new world? That’s the gist of Dark Ark, the latest comic series from Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe. A concept so good that you can’t believe you haven’t seen it before, Dark Ark has to set up a lot of story, but the potential for another great comic is definitely here in this opening issue.
At the same time that Noah created his ark, a man named Shrae has been tasked with gathering the vampires, monsters, and other mythical creatures of the world and ensuring their survival through the great flood. Of course, when you gather that many monsters in one place, conflict is bound to happen, and Shrae has to get the different monsters to not murder each other until the flood is over so he can live up to his end of the bargain. Naturally, that’s easier said than done.
As great as the premise for Bunn’s book is, there are some weird aspects of the book, the biggest one being fact that the different monsters start to talk with one another. Some of the monsters offer advice to their fellow creatures, while more of them give out threats. It’s definitely an aspect of this book that I wasn’t expecting, but it does allow for an easier way of building on more threats and drama for the series as opposed to only having Shrae and his family dealing with the creatures on the boat with no other dialogue. Speaking of Shrae, while there’s no reason given in this issue for why he’s agreed to cart these creatures across the water, the mystery is enough to keep me going with the series, since it seems like the kind of man he used to be wasn’t all that nice.
Juan Doe is a very stylistic artist, and his distinct style is an awesome addition to this book. While Doe’s human characters might look a little weird, he more than makes up for that with his creature designs. Griffins, Gorgons, Vampires, and other types of monsters all have a familiar but distinct look with Doe drawing them, and while they aren’t very scary looking, they’re very unsettling. All of the creatures have a great sense of scale and weight to them, and you’ll even find yourself feeling just a little bit sad for some of the creatures.
Dark Ark has a cool hook and interesting style, and it fits will with other AfterShock Comics like Babyteeth. If you’re a fan of horror comics and monsters, or even alternate takes on classic stories, this is a definite must buy, and I have high hopes that this series will be making quite the impact on the comic shelves.
Gasolina #1 (Image Comics)
Another entry in the growing crime genre at Image Comics, Gasolina is a series detailing a husband and wife on the run from some very bad people in Mexico. Sean Mackiewicz and Niko Walter’s new series doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the violent side of Mexican Cartels, but the love between the two central characters is what really brings the series together, even if this first issue goes by a little too fast.
Randy and Amalia have been dragged into the deadly world of Mexican Cartels, and after rescuing a son of a friend of Amalia’s are quickly realizing that their time fighting the cartels isn’t going to be over anytime soon. The Cartels have been turning to horrific means to keep their reputation up, and they are by no means going to start slowing down now. Can Randy and Amalia survive?
Sean Mackiewicz script thrives best when it focuses on Randy and Amalia’s relationship. Maciewicz does a great job of showing how these two characters truly care for each other, even when one gets the other in serious trouble. However, some of the plot for this first issue feels a little rushed, as the script covers a lot of ground that could’ve been paced a little better for two issues or so. That being said, there’s still plenty of cool moments in this issue, especially involving the Cartel’s final “gift” after the child they kidnapped is returned to his father.
Speaking of cool moments, a lot of those are so effective because of Niko Walter’s pencils. Walter is able to add a nice layer of seedy grime to Mackiewicz’s script, which makes the beautiful scenery Walter peppers into the comic all the more interesting. As gorgeous as the Mexican country side looks, there’s horrific violence just under the surface. There are also stretches of the book where we don’t get any dialogue at all, just Walter’s art, which adds to the tension of the book.
All in all, if you’re a fan of shows like Narcos or Sons of Anarchy, you’ll find a lot of cool stuff in Gasolina. While I would’ve liked for this opening issue to slow down a little bit, there’s plenty here to keep me coming back for issue two. It’s nice to see Image comics embrace more crime series, and Gasolina is a welcome addition to the other criminal books that fall under the Image banner.