Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Jesus Hervas
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
What They Say:
As Khalee strives to maintain order in the newly forming society of the unnatural, a trickster walks among the monsters, encouraging dissent not only among the ghouls and goblins and manticores but among the humans as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Dark Ark: After the Flood has dug into some interesting territory as it explores what kinds of things Shrae put into motion ages ago that his children are going to have to deal with. Bunn’s delivered a strong series in the original run and I’m glad the sequel series hasn’t just replicated that but has built upon it with a different kind of tension and desire to eat one’s own here as it unfolds. I’m also really glad to see what Jesus Hervas has brought to the book; there was no way he could or should duplicate what Juan Doe did but each installment has helped to really bring this storyline into his hands in a way that’s resonating well and feels like it’s coming across exactly as it should. I was disappointed at first for obvious reasons but Hervas has really grown on me in a big way, especially with this issue.
The two main stories unfolding here definitely play up against each other, with the subplot of Rea being really interesting. She’s struggling with the loss of so much of her family recently like any child would but it becomes really personal when some of the other people from the ark have decided to use her in order to deal with Khalee for protection. The monsters are bound to not harm Shrae’s family so using her as bait for Khalee is ideal. Unfortunately for them, Rea ends up running right into a group of monsters that are all too eager to eat them, thanking Rea no less. It’s Kruul that shakes things up here as it’s more about him establishing dominance over both sides but his approach brings the violence to the forefront in a way that while it may serve him well is only going to cause more problems. And it’s not exactly something that Rea wanted to see either, considering how he handles the bodies.
The other side of this is Khalee as she deals with what her life has become now that she’s something more. We do get some flashbacks about what happened when her father saved her and how she should have died as a child but we know that there was a larger cost to it that’s now being called in. But she’s still trying to do right by the people on the island that came from the ark as they’re chasing her down in order to secure their own survival. But what we see are those higher beings on the island that are trying to get her to realize her own power and place in the scheme of things. They’re not sure why she’s running when she could just kill them all, why she isn’t planning for what the world is about to be. She’s still leaning on things from the perspective of saving everyone while the higher powers are wanting her to do what they intended, naturally, which is to secure their position in this new world. And they’re intending to collect on what’s owed through Shrae.
Though I’ll still admit I’m not as intensely invested in this as I was the first series for a couple of reasons, I’m definitely still enjoying it and hoping for more. The next issue is set to conclude things but there’s still so much sprawling story that looks to be open to being told that I’m hoping we’ll see it revisited sooner rather than later. This installment puts a few more things into motion with Rea and Khalee as both are being manipulated well for these goals. It’s a smooth and engaging read and I really like what Jesus Hervas has brought to the title with its look and style, especially with Juancho’s color design that’s going for a more earthy approach than the prior series.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: June 17th, 2020