I picked up Light of Darkness from a stall at N.I.C.E. last weekend and it’s a pretty impressive looking package. At first glance, it has a real Clive Barker Books of Blood vibe to it and the art looks pretty interesting. Chatting to the lady on the stall, I’m told that it’s a comics version of Chapter One of a prose novel (also now available).
The story takes shape pretty quickly. After an ultimatum from a demonic / Satan character, a hooded individual appears in New York City with a task to complete in a year. The narration warns the reader of its powers and the threat of an upcoming war and it stalks the city. The figure finds an occupant in the City, beats him and his minions then crucify the man. It’s at this point we realise that the victim on the cross is in fact an angel. A seemingly now very dead angel.
The story then switches to a family reunited five years previously on a middle American farm. The daughter in this family seems the centre of attention as her father returns home. A sinister face in the middle of a stormy sky speaks of the girl’s destiny and the story begins to get going. I won’t spoil the last few pages as they end on a sinister comment but it’s a great read.
As an old school horror fan, I really enjoyed this opening issue. It’s genuinely chilling. The creative team have a steady hand on the steering wheel of a tale told in classic horror vernacular. It has a 1990s horror movie feel that reminds me a little of a cross between The Prophecy franchise and something by Tim ‘Faust’ Vigil.
The war between Heaven’s angels and Hell’s demons is always an interesting angle for me. It’s been done throughout the ages and picked up by writers like Michael Moorcock and Grant Morrison. Writer Victor Wright takes all the right steps, making the important sequential moments personal and impactful, delivering a saga of a horror story, full of fantasy and gore. Even the demons have a Fangoria/Full Moon Studios feel about them.
The cover also has a real metal album cover feel to it and is replicated on the front of the prose novel paperback version. It hints to its interiors (and beyond) and almost has a spoiler quality to what it portrays.
Light of Darkness feels like a movie structure opening. You can almost hear the credits rumbling through after the initial scene and the art suits the book perfectly. The book is by the same artists, but making great use of space and colour it’s split into two distinct styles. The opener in New York City has a darker back streets claustrophobic mood and the later pages a brighter and more open setting and colouring effect, exchanging dark shadowy alleyways for open sky and the farmlands of the United States.
You can see that planning has gone into its presentation of this project. If I had a small niggle, it would be with the photo realistic moments. We get a couple of panels that where the photo reference is apparent, right up until the last quarter of the book, when I was completely taken out of the reading experience by the appearance of a character who is obviously a copy of Morgan Freeman. But it’s not like we don’t see that all the time in mainstream comics… Samuel L Jackson anyone?
But don’t let that small problem distract from what is a really interesting and attention grabbing first issue. It sets up a universe, delivers on character and leaves you on a chilling final panel. It’s well worth picking up and I’m looking forward to seeing issue number 2 soon.
You can find a copy of the comic at www.geekycomics.com or via Victor’s Twitter @Geeky_Comics. and the book is available from his own web site – www.victorsbooks.co.uk. Having a look at their website I also notice that they’ll have a stall at MCM London in the last weekend of October. I’ll hopefully be catching up with the writer on my visit.
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