space
space
head
head head head
Home Contact RSS Feed
COMICS   •   MOVIES   •   MUSIC   •   TELEVISION   •   GAMES   •   BOOKS
Comic Review: ‘Dusk’ Vol. 1
space
NeverWanderer   |  
space

DuskDusk Vol. 1
Written by David Doub
Pencils by Maki Naro, Jerry Gonzales, Franc Czuba
Inks by Chris Scott, Jerry Gonzales
Letters by Jaymes Reed
Independent

A newly turned vampire must resist his own unnatural urges in order to save his wife’s life. A chance encounter with a private investigator leads to a reunion between a vampire hunter and the husband she’d almost forgotten. A teen’s mystical dalliances place a curse on his school that few, if any, may survive.

These are the tales of Dusk, David Doub’s independently published Gothic horror comic. Collected in this trade paperback volume are the first four issues of the black & white series, created and written by Doub, illustrated by Maki Naro, Jerry Gonzales, Franc Czuba, and Chris Scott, and lettered by Jaymes Reed.

This was a difficult review for me to pin down. Typically, I have a prevailing feeling after finishing a given book that will guide me through the process of writing about it, but in this case, I was left very much in limbo. I have negative things to say, yet I can’t bring myself to give a wholly bad review. I have positive things to say, yet I’d be remiss if I just fluffed it and went on my way. So, I’m going to try something new…




THE GOOD:

  • First off, the efforts put forth here by the creators are great, and their passion for the project is obvious in every page. Just the herculean task of self-publishing a single comic in this day and age, let alone four singles plus a trade, is one deserving of recognition and congratulations. It’s also apparent right off the bat that there was real attention paid to the format and overall tone of the book, which is something I always appreciate.
  • The Art. In an age where lavishly colored comics are the norm, and even a black & white book is likely to utilize a greyscale artist to lend depth to the images, it’s easy to forget how nice plain old solid black & white books can look. This is a title that will make you remember. All four contributing pencilers and inkers have crafted some truly beautiful images. Cartoony without losing an edge of drama, drenched in shadows, and with an attention to detail that adds perfectly to each story. I was especially struck by the snowy landscapes in issue #3; my favorite of the book.
  • The Protagonist. There is definite psychological depth in the book’s central character, the vampire hunter Eve. She was an abused wife who was kidnapped and enslaved by a vampire lord for her latent magical ability, then rescued by another vampire named Ash, and now works with Ash, helping him hunt the creatures of the night to repay a debt that only she feels she owes. What makes her so intriguing to me is the detail put into her mental state, which ends up being a main focus of most of the stories. She is essentially a battered woman whose circumstances have left her in denial, hiding from the ordinary life she couldn’t handle behind a stony facade and her forced involvement in the supernatural world she was dragged into. She is fixated on Ash, her savior, and though he recognizes her obvious baggage, he allows her to stay with him because it is the first decision she has made for herself in a long time. 



    She is also an addict! See, in this world, vampire blood is a narcotic, and (similar to the Nightwatch novels and movies) if a human drinks it, they become stronger and faster. It is suggested that over her years of enslavement, Eve developed a reliance on the stuff, and now treats Ash as her dealer; assuring him that she only needs the extra edge to do her work, while in truth it all plays further into her fixation with him. Characters of this sort of complexity are a rarity, even in the best comics, and though I felt that Doub’s portrayal of Eve can be occasionally lacking, she is definitely a major drawing factor for the book.

  • The Atmosphere. Despite how action-oriented the tone of the series may come off in the elevator pitch, this is definitely more Buffy than Blade — more of a character piece. In fact, though the similarities are few, the comic I find myself most often comparing this to in my head is Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country. Both feature strong, complex female protagonists doing dangerous work in worlds hidden in shadows, and wearied by their experiences. Plus, the black & white art work harkens back to the art of that series.



So, the good is good! We like the good. But with the good, there must also come…

THE BAD:

  • Though the concepts that form the roots of this series are strong, the execution is severely lacking at times. The second issue in particular has a number of problems, both in the characterizations of Eve and Ash, and in the plot, which seems to have no internal logic and comes off like a case of the writer cramming too many differing ideas into one story without paying enough attention to the connective tissue that holds it together. I’m avoiding details so as not to give away the reveals in the story, but suffice it to say that Ash shows an amazing lack of savvy that seems to directly contradict his common sense from the previous issue, and Eve goes from brooding and internalized to unrealistically childish, moody and naive. The whole thing is accented by a flashback that feels too long and just isn’t written very well. The story needed serious work, and though this is the worst of it, echoes of these mistakes can be found in all the issues.
  • To be honest, the whole project feels a little rushed. The writing shows promise, but is seriously unpolished, with pacing problems and a few moments of unrealistically stilted dialogue being the main failings. With a little more time and effort, these problems may have been easily massaged out, but as it stands, the quality is sub-par, despite the best intentions of the creator.
  • The lettering. This gets its own bullet point, because of ALL the problems I had with this book, this was the most glaringly, jarringly obvious. Confusing balloon placement, tails linking the wrong balloons together, tails pointing to the wrong person speaking, inconsistencies in fonts from one page to the next, and many, MANY spelling and grammar errors… this was not good work. But again, these were problems that could have been caught and corrected, easily, if the time had been taken to do so.



So the final verdict is… this is not a book that can stand alongside its independent brethren in the big leagues. It has the potential to be great, and the artists go a long way to raise its level of quality, but the writer needs to hone his craft and the letterer needs to pay attention to what he’s doing. I can sift through the problem areas and find the aspects that make it shine, but the average reader will not likely have the time or patience to do the same, and in a time when people are having to tighten their comic budget, this is not a book I can recommend spending your $10 on.

Well conceived and skillfully drawn, but lacking a professional level of execution, I give Dusk a C-.

space
space
Previous Article
space
Next Article
«
»
space
space
space
Geeks of Doom on Instagram Follow Geeks of Doom on Tumblr space
Geeks of Doom on YouTube Geeks of Doom on Pinterest
Geeks of Doom Email Digest Geeks of Doom RSS Feed space
space
Amazon.com
space
space
space
space
space
space
The Drill Down Podcast TARDISblend Podcast Westworld Podcast
space
2520 Clothing Company
space
2019  ·   2018  ·   2017  ·   2016  ·   2015  ·   2014  ·   2013  ·   2012  ·   2011  ·   2010  ·   2009  ·   2008  ·   2007  ·   2006  ·   2005
space
Geeks of Doom is proudly powered by WordPress.

Students of the Unusual™ comic cover used with permission of 3BoysProductions
The Mercuri Bros.™ comic cover used with permission of Prodigal Son Press

Geeks of Doom is designed and maintained by our geeky webmaster
All original content copyright ©2005-2018 Geeks of Doom
All external content copyright of its respective owner, except where noted
space
Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
space
About | Privacy Policy | Contact
space