Story: Tim Seeley
Art: Corin Howell
Colorist: Mark Englert
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Chip is trying to keep the newly turned vampire Evie from being manipulated in the Centress’ twisted game, as the various factions of Chicago’s Order of the Eventide prepare for war.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’ve definitely enjoyed a lot of Dark Red but after the Victor arc that got things fully underway, Dark Red has felt a little listless. Tim Seeley is starting to pull it together a bit more here and that definitely works in its favor overall. Seeley’s not exactly a hit or miss writer for me but there are lulls that just don’t connect as well. What does continue to work as well, however, is Corin Howell’s artwork. I have a real enjoyment of what she produces with Dark Red and several other books that were coming out of hers at the start of it. There’s a great kind of roughness to it that at times reminds me of both some 70s indies stuff and more so with a bunch of 80s independent publishing. With Englert’s color design giving it the additional bit it needs, it all comes together to make for some great layouts and sequences.
The book continues to work its two-track approach and that’s definitely for the best. Evie’s definitely struggling with her world change now that she’s a vampire and no longer dealing with some of the problems of her past. And that means her day to day living, at best, is a thing no more when she has seemingly eternity laid out in front of her. Ashen helps to soften that a bit and teach her a little and there are some good flashback moments here and expansion on what it is that Ashen runs as the Centress in Chicago in order to protect herself and their people. I still have zero trust in Ashen based on the things she’s doing but she’s at least educating Evie. And that works well until Evie’s brought into the interrogation room where a couple of problematic vampires are about to be torn apart for their betrayal, something Evie is utterly not ready to see.
Chip, however, has found himself in a really rough position – name the back of a weargator thing. With his back broken but healing, the attempt to figure out which vampire killed Papa is now what’s driving the residents of the Zoo. This helps to fill in a few blanks on how it operates and some of the openings that the misty vampire took advantage of it but it also shows us just how ready they are to deal with killing McCobb even as just a vampire hunter. I’ll admit I have nearly no investment in the Zoo and the crew there as it feels like too much introduced too soon in the big picture sense, but I did enjoy seeing how Chip manages to wrangle them all into working together to find the real killer once a couple of tight clues show up. Of course, all roads lead to other roads and having this connect up with Evie’s story at the worst time is like painting a huge target on her.
Dark Red is a title that has a lot going for it and a lot of potential but hasn’t found quite the right path to getting there yet. The opening arc was strong and it’s opened up its world to a much larger level quicker than I think it should have, and that kept us from connecting with the cast more before their lives changed even more. This issue makes it really clear to Evie just how radically different her life is and what that means while Chip just wants to crash in his chair and be done with all of this but is forced to keep riding the weregator’s back. There are neat and fun moments throughout and I’m particularly interested in Evie’s storyline more than anything else, but I wish it had taken a bit more time to just exist and settle in before going as big as it has now.
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: November 27th, 2019