To start out, I just want to say how excited I am to finally have Dark Beach #2 within paw’s reach. Issue #1 of this series was fantastic and got me engrossed immediately, but sometimes second issues don’t make the impact as their predecessors. After months of waiting and wondering, it’s finally here.
Dark Beach is a thinly veiled post-apocalyptic story set in 2355, and it immediately throws us into a world where the sun is gone, and human beings have had to shift to an entirely new way of living. Within this place that goes from dim to bright in a matter of walking through a door, a rough-around-the-edges man named Gordo exists for the purpose of taking crime scene photos. In the previous issue, we learned of a collection of people nicknamed “The Sun Freaks” who believe in conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of the sun, and now they themselves have been disappearing.
Gordo is drawn to a particular murder of one of these Sun Freaks, and can’t explain why. But not having a clear explanation of something doesn’t stop him, though it takes a great deal more work to get involved than to simply snap a photo of a dead person and move onto the next. He tries to piece together what could have happened and why, all while trying to not raise too much suspicion and end up with others who have asked exactly the same types of questions and didn’t make it out alive.
I was immediately absorbed in Dark Beach because the story is definitely rooted in science fiction, yet this issue opened up a whole new branch of controversy. I do think a lot of readers will find the writing of Michael J. Ruiz-Unger and Tucker Tota to strike several familiar chords-global warning, climate change, conspiracy theories, ideals of beauty, etc. It is certainly one of those “What if?” books which I quite enjoy; it never hurts to open up another porthole in your mind and think about things a different way.
One of my absolute favorite things about this story is the artwork by Sebastian Piriz. It’s illustrative and clean, but keeps the grit that the book needs behind it to propel forward. The characters look exactly as they should, and all their mannerisms are clearly present in an upfront and to-the-point manner. Though I do think Ray Jones’s colors are what really gives the book its edge. Just because the subject matter is dark doesn’t mean that you cannot use color, and on the contrary, Ray uses rainbows and details like there’s no tomorrow, and this issue is all the better for it. In certain panels, the artificial light permeating through a club really does strike you as unreal while the outside world of darkness does seem cold and bleak. It’s almost as if you could touch your hand to the pages and feel the temperatures of the story. The same can be said for the cover, and the stark contrasting colors give almost a pop art feel. All in all, the result is very beautiful and extremely eye-catching.
There is one thing that irked me though; the phrase “keep your legs shut” has always been one of those eye-rollers to me. Mostly because it’s used in a very condescending way towards women, and also because people who know anything about sex are aware that you can still do the deed with your legs closed. Go around the block a few times, have some fun. Though more of a personal critique, it does somewhat make sense to be coming from Gordo, though is was a bit shocking because we don’t know him that well yet. It was a small thing that skewed his character a bit for me, but he does seem to be able to have the capacity to redeem himself with this series.
This is a story that I highly recommend to people, and now I am doing the same thing to you. The campaign for the second issue is now live, and I strongly encourage anyone who likes to have their brain tickled with a unique story to check it out. Now that the waiting for this issue is done, so begins another spell of eagerly awaiting issue #3. I am not a patient person, and I simply must read more of this strange, dark, and oddly delightful series.
Story: 5 Stars
Colors: 5 Stars
Artwork: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Written by Micael Ruiz-Unger & Tucker Tota
Inks by Sebastian Piriz
Colors by Ray Jones
Letters by JavierPuga
Currently on Kickstarter, support the title HERE