Dark Ark #11 continues the mirror image story of a dark companion ark to the one helmed by Noah and his family. I freely admit that this is not a series I was familiar with. However this one issue, issue 11, engrossed me and made me curious about what came before and what will come in the future for this series. At its heart, this comic book run seeks to answer the question of why evil beings and monsters continued to exist after the cleansing flood brought about by God. (Full credit to @darkhorse305 of Geekyery Magazine on undercovercapes.com for filling me in on some back story) However, writer Cullen Bunn has woven in additional elements to the story. This elements provide suspense and intrigue to a tale whose origin is lost in the mists of human history.
As the book opens we are presented with an image of a dove with an olive leaf in its mouth. Those familiar with the biblical tale know that this was hugely symbolic for Noah and his family. This symbol gave notice that their confinement in the ark was nearing its end and the new beginning they had been promised was close at hand. It is interesting to see then that the monstrous beings aboard the dark ark view the great storm’s cessation and the calmness of the waters as frightening and discouraging. The sun torments them and they perceive this new world as hell. An interesting look from evil’s perspective. To underscore this point, some on board the dark ark kill one of the doves as it flies overhead.. Meanwhile, inside the ark, the first life brought into this new world is tainted by evil. Seeking to aid this new life; Shrae, the sorcerer, retrieves one of the monsters punished for a mutiny earlier in the series. In consultation with this monster, Shrae eventually finds a way to deliver this new life from the evil it was born with. The symbolism in this issue is telling, mirroring dogmatic concepts in Christianity. The ideas of original sin and of sacrifice are explored, though ironically aboard the dark ark. One can also ponder the meaning behind the fact that the first life born into a reborn world is the fruit of evil. This new life is in turn born tainted by that evil. Finally, this new life is then cleansed of that evil by selfless sacrifice. Some rather deep waters for Dark Ark #11 to tread, pardon the pun.
While the story provides layers of meaning and questions to ponder, the artwork is the figurative engine which drives this vehicle forward. The design is simplistic and primitive in its concept giving the whole story the biblical, prehistoric feeling it deserves. No romantic imaginings of the ark here, this story is presented as a tale before time began. The monsters, while interacting in a mostly normal fashion with those around them, are drawn as creatures straight out of nightmares. This dichotomy is striking and a perfect companion to this mirror image story which seeks to tell this tale of rebirth through the eyes of those who have lost their “paradise”. I enjoyed this book for what if offered me and what it forced me to think about. Frankly, this is one of those stories I would never have thought to tell. That is often the sign of genius, or madness, you decide. Either way, I highly recommend this book and this series.
Writing – 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Writing – Cullen Bunn
Art – Juan Doe
Color – Juan Doe
Letters – Ryane Hill