Artist: I.N.J Culbard
Letters: I.N.J Culbard
Designer: Brennan Thome
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 13th 2014
From Dark Horse comics comes Dark Ages #1, a new series, reuniting the power team which is Dan Abnett and I.N.J Culbard once again, and what a reunion it has turned out to be. The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has never been truer than in relation to this book. I.N.J Culbard, while famous for his artistic prowess, failed to deliver gripping artistry on the front cover, and while that may put some people off, it’s surely a big mistake, for the artwork throughout the rest of the book is excellent. The images aren’t spectacularly life-like, but then again, it’s my belief they weren’t intended to be, as Culbard does have the artistic ability to create more lifelike images, and while this style of drawing does not work for most books, it takes nothing away from this book, in fact, the lack of detail at times encourages the reader to use their own imagination, furthering the overall reading experience.
Kudos to Dan Abnett too, for developing such a well written script; the past setting, and the use of ‘ye ole English’ language (or I’m assuming it to be by the use of the word “Bloody” (and the fact it’s set in Europe)), further adds to the reading experience. It’s no wonder Abnett and Culbard are a power team, with the development of such a story: ‘what begins as a delightfully simplistic story of a band of soldiers impatiently awaiting a war, quickly turns into a story of said soldiers, fighting a war they have no place being in, against a foe they have no knowledge of how to defeat, praying to a god not all of them believe exist for help and guidance in the most dire of times’ and the use of almost ‘comical’ characterizations, this series is sure to gain a huge fan following.
Now, with all the positives out-of-the-way, there are only a few negatives with which end this review. Number One: the characters are not developed, and while some people might think this necessary because there are so many of them, I find it difficult to read about someone I know nothing about. Number Two: The maniacal monk, while quite hilarious, was confusing too; the ‘They’ he’s talking about is intended to be a surprise, further adding to the ‘cliff-hangeresque’ ending, but it did dampen the general feel of the book by trying to work out exactly he’s on. And here endeth my negatives.
Overall, I found this to be a surprising ‘first in the series’ book, with just enough mystery accompanied by a well written story-line to pique my interest. This is definitely a book I could read more of, if only to see who ‘They’ are, and their role in the story-line. Yet another solid piece of work by Abnett and Culbard.
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