Review - The Dark Age #1 (@red5comics)

"You know...I'm not always gonna be around."

Surviving without life conveniences is something that's possible but not enjoyable. When a relatively large convenience such as metal disappears in The Dark Age #1 from Red 5 Comics, survival is anything by enjoyable. The issue is written by Don Handfield, illustrated by Leonard Rodrigues, colored by Dijjo Lima and lettered by DC Hopkins.

In the near future all metal on earth suddenly turns to worthless piles of rust and dust. With no technology, no guns, no computers, humanity reverts to a violent feudal system. Each pocket of civilization is ruled by knights of wood & glass & concrete. This is the new Dark Age.

The premise behind The Dark Age #! is one that's befitting of its title, in that Rodrigues has created a world bereft of metal. That allows the plot to take some interesting turns as well as preventing the book from becoming just another post-apocalyptic survival tale. What arises from the ashes (somewhat literally) of the metal's disappearance is a version of North America that's very similar to the one found in pre-Revolutionary War times. Rodrigues capitalizes on this new world as the backdrop for the story, although the issue does feel somewhat disjointed at certain points which makes it difficult to figure out the exact intricacies of the relationships on display. The issue seems to follow a trio of main characters who are seemingly introduced in the opening pages of the book, but then Handfield moves on from them to a series of other characters, yet the transition is never really explained very clearly.

The artwork by Rodrigues is pretty detailed in terms of depicting the garb the characters have adopted for their new mission of survival. Rodrigues blends articles of clothing from the world before the metal incident with other everyday items in an effort to convey to the reader the desperation of the new era. Each of the characters is fairly unique in their appearance despite this, although there are a few panels where characters look similar enough that it's difficult to tell them apart. The panels are presented in a very organized manner that makes it relatively straightforward to follow visually. Lima's colors are a good fit for the world being created in the book, effortlessly emphasizing the relatively lush greenery that's filling in every space it can.

The Dark Age #1 is another post-apocalyptic tale, but it's one that has slightly different stakes than many other versions of the story. There's a heady mix of knights and kingdoms in North America, fighting for what land they can in an effort to live as well as they can given the circumstances. Handfield's script is interesting in terms of its concept and looks to have some larger things in mind as it unfolds further. The artwork by Rodrigues is an appropriate fit stylistically for the story itself. The Dark Age #1 harkens back to another era when people were forced to contend without metal and it's a concept that works pretty well as the main thrust of the series.

The Dark Age #1 is available now.