REVIEW: Dark Beach #1

New environments, same old problems in this new small press book from creator Michael J. Ruiz-Unger and his story collaborators Tucker Tota and Matthew Mongelia.

Despite the confusing, created by, story by and written by credentials lies a kind of noir-esque story given an “other world” slant with the fact that the planet has moved away from the sun, casting it’s inhabitants in a perpetual darkness.  This darkness hides many a sin, no more so than a murder that hints at a  somewhat subversive “sun club” and the lead’s use of the new disposable drug.  The story is a terse affair that initially reads well.  It’s only upon reflection that the influences start to detract from what could be an original story.

With the amount of names at the top of the page I am not sure where to assign blame or credit.  The plot moves in a functionary way, with dialogue that you would expect in a crime story.  However, in stories like this, I am always left amazed that an average Joe, or in this case Gordo, will no doubt display the sort of detective skills or some such that will allow him to get to the bottom of things despite working as a construction guy.  I understand that we are taking about a comic book conceit, he after all has to be the good guy.  But c’mon, treat your readers with a bit of respect.

Artistic credit goes to Sebastian Piriz whose work here is fine for the type of book this is trying to be.  Characters remain consistent throughout and I like how Piriz doesn’t take the easy way out, especially early on, with different angles of the murdered girl, driving me to compare angles and arm placement.  However, Piriz’ facial elements may need a bit of improvement.  When you only see part of the face everything is good, yet when you get a full face, there is an element of dead eye.  Now, this may be a style that Piriz is going for, with the “sun clubbers” for example,  but the dialogue suggests that the characters this afflicts are not the brain addled type.  Colors in a environment without sun is a bit of a hard task, but Ray Jones handles the task well, giving the world a shroud of grey that seems to permeate every locale and possibly the characters mind-set.

As a start of new book, this book is an interesting read with enough going on to maybe curb those well used story tropes, in order to get the reader to care who killed the girl in broad darkness.

Dark Beach #1
Story: Michael J. Ruiz-Unger, Tucker Tota, Matthew Mongelia
Writer: Tucker Tota
Artist: Sebastian Piriz
Colorist: Ray Jones
Website
Kickstarter

 

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