Since Jason Aaron’s fantastic The Goddamned, I’ve been wondering how even more religious stories could be rewritten in new and interesting ways. Enter Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe’s new series from AfterShock Comics that takes the Noah story and adds dark and monstrous elements to it. We got a chance to read and review an advance copy of this book which is out September 20th, but is it good?
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
For what it’s worth, Marvel’s Monster’s Unleashed was an excellent blockbuster style monster action event and to see Bunn utilizing monsters in a new way was incredibly exciting. Comics are all about fun and monsters are right up there when it comes to the ultimate comic book entertainment. The fact that he’s weaved monsters into the Noah’s Ark story is incredibly interesting.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s not looking good for the people of Earth.
This story opens as one might expect to fill in the reader on what Noah’s Ark entails. Humanity, for the most part, is underwater and drowning and Noah has saved the world’s chosen animals in a giant Ark which serves as a beacon of hope for all life. After these first two pages, Bunn drops a set of new characters on readers and it’s incredibly macabre in the look and attitude of this other Ark. I found myself totally sucked into this story in part because it’s such a clever idea. Just because the Bible said Noah took the animals on the Ark doesn’t mean there wasn’t another Ark containing all the world’s monsters from the unnatural world.
This first issue introduces you to the main monsters that will be complicated the plot, the humans who care for them, and the rules by which this Ark floats across the sea. By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of the stakes in play as well as the interesting backstory to uncover later of the man and his family who built this boat.
Clearly, some research has been done as far as the monsters on board go, one of which has an attraction to women that’ll most likely get them in trouble. You have to wonder if all the monsters of the world were trapped on a boat what might happen and on top of that what monsters wouldn’t make it once the seas go away. On top of that, Bunn has integrated Noah’s Ark into the story, which adds another layer and should be interesting to watch especially if you’re familiar with the original story. I’m a big fan of tweaked tales like updated Brother’s Grimm stories and this is another example of compelling retellings.
The art is pretty great too, especially the use of color which has a neon glow to it, making the monsters look particularly magical and unreal. They pop off the page well too because the Ark backgrounds are a lot of blacks and dark tones. You certainly won’t be making the mistake that these characters are good in any way! This is juxtaposed well with outdoor scenes with gloomy skies and drab clothes on the humans. Those opening pages showcasing the world and Noah’s Ark are great too, at first showing the rather depressing state of the world in four succinct panels and then almost making Noah’s Ark shine amongst the lightning, high seas and dark clouds.
That looks unnatural…
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not a huge fan of how Doe draws the human faces, at least for a few of the characters. Shrae has a strong look with a big beard and dark hair, but his daughter’s face is so simplistic with a line designating an eye and very little in the way of detail when it comes to mouths and expressions.
Aside from this, I wasn’t entirely sure where the cliffhanger was going. Clearly, it’s going to be a big problem, but it’s not entirely clear what the stakes are now that this big reveal has dropped. It’s not a bad cliffhanger, but it’s a fuzzy one.
Is It Good?
This is a great first issue for a story that has an exciting and very enticing premise. This is a clever and compelling story that fans of myth and monster won’t want to miss.