Friday, February 24, 2017

Review - Darkness Visible #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"But perhaps you'll believe me when I say that I come from the old country."

Demons tend to get a bad rap and it might have to do with all the stereotypes surrounding them. Images of them with pitchforks poking people while flames abound isn't exactly a postcard of a place you'd want to visit. There are some demons who defy those stereotypes--just not the ones in Darkness Visible #1 from IDW Publishing. The issue is written by Mike Carey and Arvind Ethan David, illustrated by Brendan Cahill, colored by Joana Lafuente and lettered by Shawn Lee.

When the demons came, humanity reluctantly learned to share the world with another sentient race. Eighty years later, this uneasy co-existence has spawned an endless terrorist conflict. Detective Daniel Aston, charged with being the thin blue line between the two sides, is tested to the limit when a demon sets up house inside his soul. But to save his daughter, he’ll pay any price—including genocide.

Carly and David do a great job of mixing in the premise of the book with the daily routine of a city in a new world. Detective Aston is a believable enough lead, trying to do the right thing as a cop without letting the different lifestyles in his world get the best of him. Carly and David infuse him with plenty of relatability and that really helps drive the narrative in this regard, funneling the premise of demons living amongst humans. And the story of tolerance is a definite undercurrent throughout the issue in setting Aston up as a sympathetic character willing to go to great lengths in order to save his daughter. The dialogue is pretty straightforward and gets the point across effectively.

Cahill's artwork is a great fit for the story as it blends together humans and demons pretty effortlessly. The demons are different enough in appearance that you know they're not human, but Cahill doesn't go overboard in giving them a stereotypical demonic look. There's one instance where this isn't the case and Cahill's approach is equal parts terrifying and crazy in its rendering of a female demon. The panels are pretty cleanly laid out and mirror the relative cleanliness of Cahill's linework that details concise characters. Lafuente's colors are largely darker and help fill out the city with an appropriate level of despair that's befitting of humans and demons co-existing.

Current day events are lending themselves to literature well and Darkness Visible #1 is no exception. Detective Aston is put in a very precarious situation but will do what it takes to save his daughter. The script by Carly and David doesn't waste words in blending together a demon crime caper with broader points about society's acceptance of those with differences. The artwork by Cahill is clean and lively, making the world feel as if it's really inhabited by demons living alongside humans. Darkness Visible #1 is an interesting first issue that seems content to plumb the depths of humanity while set against the backdrop of demonic criminals.

Darkness Visible #1 is available now.

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