Just about everyone raised in the Occidental mythological traditions or religions is at least dimly aware of the story of Noah and The Ark. It's one of the foundational myths of Western Culture. It's also a story rife with potential for expansion. Darren Aranofsky (Black Swan, Noah, mother!) even tackled the story, updating it and expanding it for modern audiences. After Aranofsky's treatment, it seemed that there really wasn't anywhere further to go with the culture spanning flood myth. Leave it to comics writer extraordinaire Cullen Bunn to challenge Aranofsky for most original re-telling of the myth, or more properly, expansion of the myth.
Bunn not so much takes on the story of Noah, The Ark, the animals, and his family, but creates a dark mirror of the original protagonists in his fascinating new series Dark Ark. Shrae (a former sorcerer), his family, and his charge of creatures of the unnatural world ride the waves of the great flood alongside Noah and his ark of natural world creatures. Shrae has been tasked by the devil to do so as his "iniquities have been great and pleasing to us." Vampires, gorgons, gryphons, and other creatures that haunted the nights of mankind, and whom were presumably predetermined to be wiped out in the flood are making the watery journey to the postdiluvian world. Tensions are high on board this Dark Ark though as the creatures scheme against each other, and their herder and captain is a reluctant steward though, and one can't help wonder how Bunn will use this conflict of character to further the story in the coming issues.
There's the hook, and, as usual, Bunn manages to sink it deep into the reader leaving them awaiting the next issue anxiously. Bunn is one of those writers whose greatest talent rests in creating compelling and interesting horror story characters, but who is also capable of branching out and writing compelling superhero fare as well. His strength is in his strong characterization and the dynamism he often infuses them with. Dark Ark is no exception and looks to be his next great original tale.
Artist Juan Doe captures the look and feel of Bunn's script excellently. He infuses the mythical creatures scheming in the hold of The Dark Ark with a strangely frightening yet cartoon like look. Some of the character's visages have a manga style to their look, but the action sequences are straight up horror gore infused.
Interesting and compelling characters, a frightening premise, plenty of tension, and loads of creepy creatures comprise this comic book making it a fun read. It's Bunn's excellent grasp on storytelling that makes it a must read. Dark Ark from Aftershock Comics is shaping up to be not only the must read this fall but THE read of this fall.