Review - The Whispering Dark #1 (@darkhorsecomics)

"This is what I signed up for, dad. To make a difference."

Life comes at your pretty fast and how you cope depends on the type of person you are. In The Whispering Dark #1 from Dark Horse Comics, Hannah Vance's character is put to the test. The issue is written by Christofer Emgård, illustrated by Tomás Aira and lettered by Mauro Mantella.

Hannah Vance believes her faith in God can survive anything. But when her helicopter is shot down behind enemy lines, she will fight and kill on an ever-more-savage battlefield, desperate for a way home. On the horizon, an evil waits for her--and freedom, of a sort.

Emgård writes Vance as an unsuspecting leader; someone capable of taking charge if the situation calls for it but not entirely craving the responsibility. Using her as a vehicle for the narrative works exceptionally well as the situations she's faced with are truly trying and it allows Emgård to present a compelling story of soldiers in the field being forced to adapt. Emgård is pitching the entire book as a reflection of faith in one's belief to protect them from harm, but there are some points that seem to stretch that conceit a bit. For instance, there's a pretty major war event that takes place that the characters see firsthand, but are somehow not affected at all in a way that you would think they'd be affected. There's an ever-present darkness looming over the soldiers as they make their way through the mountains that fits the series title; whether or not that darkness turns out to be something tangible or just the evil lurking within the heart of man remains to be seen.

The illustrations by Aira present characters defined by very defined lines. This allows Aira to demonstrate to the reader the plight the soldiers find themselves in as they venture deeper into enemy territory, showcasing them in various states of emotional distress. Aira frames the panels very well to supplement the otherwise simplistic illustrations, ensuring the reader can keep tabs on the action and capturing for the reader the sentiment of the moment. The gutters are black throughout the issue to reinforce the notion of darkness carried throughout the issue. Aira's colors are fairly low-key but effective considering the mountain setting in war time.

The Whispering Dark #1 is a fairly straightforward first issue that establishes a few key elements of the story. Hannah Vance is drive by her faith and that's truly going to be put to the test as the series unfolds. Emgård's script seems to hint that there's a greater evil at play that will eventually reveal itself and whether or not Hannah can react accordingly remains to be seen. Aira's illustrations get the job done. The Whispering Dark #1 feels like a very familiar war story with the possibility of something devious and sinister lurking in the shadows.

The Whispering Dark #1 is available October 24.