Monday, March 17, 2014

31 Days of Short Reviews #17: Dark Revelation

Dark Revelation, published by small independent studio Anarchy Comics, is an odd throwback to 90s-style Top Cow T&A horror comics. Like the comics it's trying to emulate (think Witchblade or The Darkness), there's a germ of a clever idea buried under an avalanche of anatomically strained cheesecake drawings, a slow-developing plot and cliched dialog. The high concept here is that that a teen named Candy Clark is actually the product of a demon raping a woman. The series was created by "creative director" Aaron Steele-Nicholson (an idea man?) and writer Justin Olson, and the first issue was drawn by Koi Turnball, who clearly looked to Top Cow's brokeback poses for how he chose to draw women. The second issue, drawn by Roderick Thornton (yes, I thought it odd that a three-issue miniseries had two different artists from the first to second issue) is slightly moodier and less slick, actually creating an atmosphere of dread rather than an atmosphere of eye-rolling ass shots with some demons thrown in for good measure.

Obviously, I am not the target audience for a comic like this. However, this comic had basic structural problems that made it difficult to parse. There were frequent times when dialog and the art on the page didn't match up, like when a nemesis of Candy's confronts her in a locker room (both just wearing towels, of course), the facial expressions and actual movements don't make much sense when compared to what is actually said. The artist in the first issue only seemed capable of drawing women (and even most men) as looking like teenager, resulting in Candy's mother drawn to look like someone as young as her sister. (I understand that she gave birth to Candy at a young age, but 35 year olds do not look like 18 year olds.) There's a side plot regarding a group of Church-organized demon hunters that is brought up and then immediately discarded. I gathered from the back cover of the second issue that there's a plot twist or two coming up, but the dialog and character development here is akin to that of an 80s slasher picture. It's simultaneously perfunctory and tedious, as nothing Olson does makes Candy an interesting character. Really, the only interesting character in the book is a priest with a smoking problem, one who starts as a comedic character and then turns into something more important. As I said, there are interesting ideas in the book but something was lost in the translation.

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