An original take on an old story that is brilliantly written, beautifully drawn, and masterfully crafted.
What if Noah’s Ark wasn’t the only ark to survive God’s flood on Earth? What if there was a second ark that carried all of Earth’s unnatural creatures to the new world? This is the story behind Aftershock Comics’ new series Dark Ark, written by Cullen Bunn with artwork by Juan Doe.
After hearing from God that he is going to flood the Earth and only save his natural creatures, the Dark Lord calls upon a dark sorcerer named Shrae to build a second ark to carry all of Earth’s dark unnatural creatures. Shrae sets off with his family across the flooded Earth falling safely behind Noah’s Ark. On board the ark are humans that were saved and chained up below to serve as food for the beasts during the long journey. The Ark houses a plethora of different dark creatures, monsters, and all manner of unnatural things. Among them are the vampires led by Nex. There are also a large number of lizard type creatures lead by the Naga Matriarch Maldroom. Also onboard is a manticore named Kruul. Kruul has an agreement with Nex to serve under his command but also obeys the laws of the Ark and tries to keep order as best he can for the sake of them all.
As the ark goes along on its journey, there is a certain amount of unrest amongst the beasts. Some want to take the Dark Ark to find Noah and make a feast out of all the natural beast on board. Shrae has forbidden this since he has been instructed by the Dark Lord to ensure that Noah and his ark reach the new world safely. Without the natural beasts prospering in the new world, there will be no food source and therefore no hope of the dark unnatural beasts surviving in it as well. As tensions mount, the Naga Maldroon is discover dead and ripped to shreds. It falls on Shae to discover the murderer swiftly and serve punishment or the creatures of the Ark will see him as weak and revolt. Just when things couldn’t get any worse for Shrae, a group of angels swoop down upon the ark, mistaking it for Noah’s. They speak to Shrae who pretends to be Noah and ask him why he prayed and cried out to them in such pain and suffering for assistance. The clever sorcerer plays it off like it was a temporary state of mind that he was in, and simply asks them for clear seas and warm skies ahead. The angels leave, warning him do not call them again for something so miniscule. Shrae reports this back to the Dark Lord after they leave. The Dark one tells Shrae that since the angels did not answer Noah’s prayer and came to him instead, he must find Noah and discover what his distress is. Shrae is to make things right and ensure that Noah’s Ark arrives upon the new world intact and safe, or else the Dark Ark will perish as well. The story ends with the Dark Ark taking off to find Noah’s Ark uncertain of its fate.
This is a very clever story and an extremely interesting twist on Noah’s Ark. The writing is brilliant and sometimes has a twisted sense of humor. Cullen Bunn takes a familiar tale and tells it from the perspective of the creatures and beings that God deemed undesirable and unworthy of salvation. There are some really good dynamics between Shrae, who is after all human, and the various beast on board the ship that have their own politics and hierarchies. Cullen Bunn also brilliantly writes in a pair of unicorns that are mistakenly placed upon the Dark Ark. This adds a funny element although these pure creatures probably don’t stand a chance. There’s an element of murder mystery to the story that is kind of fun and unexpected, and there are several twists and turns towards the end that leave the reader wanting to find out more in the volumes to follow.
Juan Doe’s amazing artwork really draws the reader into this whole world. The entire thing takes place aboard just one ship but Doe makes it feel vast and epic in scale. The creatures are monstrous and horrific looking and his use of color and shadow really add a certain eeriness to this beautiful artwork. The action scenes really pop and have energy to them. Doe does a masterful job of making things beautiful yet terrifying, somber yet exciting.
Overall this is a fun book that is brilliantly written and looks gorgeous. I highly recommend this title to any fans of horror comics or darker titles.