A Voice In The Dark #1
Script and Art by Larime Taylor
Top Cow Productions, Inc. | Image Comics
Release Date: November 20, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99
The concept of making a serial killer the protagonist of a story emerged into pop culture with Dexter (though this isn’t the first example in literary history), and shook up the way we viewed these types of tales. The questioning of sanity and the ambiguity of morals cement the plot, and developed the story in manner that fans thrived on – whether they are fans of the books and/or television series.
A Voice In The Dark shoplifts this concept, but places the setting in the form of a protagonist named Zoey Aarons. That’s right: a female serial killer. And not just any female serial killer, but a young one, at age 18, and the host of a dark talkback show on college radio called A Voice In The Dark. Like the Dexter mythos, Zoey hides in plain sight.
Unlike Dexter however, we have no clue whether she actually is a serial killer at this point. Throughout issue one, she fixates on the darkness unleashed in her mind ever since her first murder, confused and frightened by the impact on her sanity; though the subtext implies that there will be more killings to come – or that perhaps there already have been.
Moving to California from Seattle for her first week of college, her nearby uncle keeps a close eye on her for her parents (though not that much of a close eye), while he works his day job as a homicide detective.
The first issue of A Voice In The Dark is essentially an orientation undertaking, almost an origin story if you will, a standalone piece that sets the scene for what is to come. For the readers, we see the world from Zoey’s perspective, including her continuing morbid hallucinations – and her personal in-mind discussions with her dark-side self. The writing is fairly solid, setting up the principal players and characters, signaling that the real meat of the story will come in the following issues.
Immersed in a monochrome world, the artwork is colorless, all black and white – that actually adds a great deal to the ambiance of the story. The inking and shadowing approach to the story is immersive, with more focus on characterization and fleshing out Zoey’s hallucinations. The grislier bits (such as the discovery of a nude victim by her uncle) are toned down in a PG-13 fashion, which is fine, because the focus is on the thinking of Zoey, rather than making the story a slasher bloodfeast from the 1980s accented with nipples.
There is a ton of symbolism throughout A Voice In The Dark, the most notable and obvious being the discussions between Zoey and her dark half in the mirror. And while other subtextual threads are advanced in the tale, the main focus for this first issue is really just to set the scene for the good bits to follow.
If there is any criticism of A Voice In The Dark, it’s in the nature of how close it is to Dexter. Having the main character’s uncle just so happen to be a homicide detective places it far too close to the books/series, though it’s still early days for this comic at this point.
On a side note, there are several contemporary issues and controversies that arise throughout the story that reflect communal problems and concerns. Bigotry, violence, and suicide are all dropped into the tale at different points, addressing a lot of perspectives that seem to indicate the plot is mainly directed at teens and young adults.
And that demographic will no doubt eat it up. A Voice In The Dark is a compelling read, and the monochrome art is a feast for the eyes, backed up by a sharp plot. It sucks you in and grabs your attention. I’d recommend giving it a look – it has great potential.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5