When I think of the fantasy horror genre the first thing that comes to mind is Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal… which was creepy, but not all that horrific. Image Comics has themselves a new series that’s much more horrific, complete with gore and nudity, but is it good?
Dark Engine #2 (Image Comics)
If you’ve read the first issue of this series you’re nearly at the same point as someone who hasn’t. There wasn’t much in the way of answers or direction in Dark Engine #1: we learn the female protagonist is a weapon from the future. Other than that it was a rather frustrating read. The art by John Bivens spoke for itself, but it was a bit maddening to try to decipher what the comic even wanted to be. I took a dip into issue #2 hoping for answers and the ones we did get were… well, keep reading and find out.
Cool layout, kinda gross though if you read what is going on.
The main character, revealed in the last issue as Sym, has apparently been sent into the past, but not to the correct time. There’s some kind of threat that’s looming over the people in the future and we get a much better eyeball on that threat in this issue; some kind of violent spore creatures.
We only know she’s not in the right time because the people of the future suspect as much. The timeline she is in doesn’t necessarily seperate itself from the future people very well, so there’s no telling how far back she is in time. Really the idea that she’s in the past is conjecture at this point. Unlike in the last issue where we saw her kill dinosaurs and beasts, in this issue Sym is laying on a floor inside the hippo she exploded in the last issue. She’s being used by some charlatan to get money and items from the locals to see her. I guess they think she’s some kind of god? Nobody really says. We don’t even know why she’s been knocked out, if she’s knocked out or what.
Writer Ryan Burton does show us more of this dragon fellow we met in the last issue. One presumes he’s a bad guy because of where he lives and what he looks like, but even that is up for speculation. This book is so damn low on facts and details it’s hard to know what any of this means. It is becoming slightly clear this Sym character was created to kill a threat to humanity by going into the past. That’s about it. (And didn’t we already learn that last issue?)
John Bivens continues to draw some amazing images in this series. I’m given the impression his direction is rather loose, because they do not support or tell much more story than the words do. That’s disconcerting, because sometimes the art can bring the story together. Here it serves as eye candy, but without much of a story you get the feeling this comic is more of a sketchbook with repeating characters than a series to follow.
That’s just odd.
Is It Good?
It’s unfortunate this comic is so befuddling. There’s not much to go on be it story or structure and the reader isn’t given much in the way of clues. If say, there was at least a note on what year these characters are in, we’d at least have an idea how the pieces relate. Alas we don’t, and so we’re left with an overly bamboozling comic to say the least.