Darkness Visible #4

I am always on the hunt for good new comics. That sends me regularly casting out to the smaller publishers in search of comics that have a unique premise, an older target demographic, or challenge my propensity toward superhero mags. Finding a gem is not easy to do. An editor for Topcow stated that there are over 2000 new books published each month, connoisseurs with discerning tastes can be sure that only a small percentage of those are going to have the flavors to excite your comic palette. To make decisions more difficult the available information is usually slim. You are lucky to get cover art, and a four sentence synopsis in addition to the creator credits for a prospective purchase. Against those long odds at the risk of 399 pennies I took a chance on Darkness Visible from IDW several months back. I am happy to say that it has become a favorite of mine in recent months.

I caught Darkness Visible at the beginning and enjoyed the first three issues well enough to keep it on my list. Issue #4 is the best so far. The comic opens with a suitably surreal dream sequence with a nice color effect suggestive of extreme lighting. The plot shifts in the following scene to a conversation discussing acceptance, changing social demographics, brexit, and the social impacts of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation of individuals in London. The dialog of this scene lends weight to the MR rating beyond the obvious content, blood and humans transforming into demonic monsters. Soon we’re back to nocturnal detective work in, where else, the red light district for demons. This is the meat and potatoes you’re looking for if you got hooked by the original four sentence synopsis in the catalog. Then finish the issue with a multi demon fight in the bordello; and the, which person is that demon reveal from page one of issue #1. Do that in 20 pages and it leaves me with a satisfied smile thinking I am glad I tried this book out, I should tell others about it.

Mike Carey is scripting along with Arvind Ethan David, and it was Carey’s name that helped me make the initial jump. I read a short run he did on Ultimate Fantastic Four six or seven years ago that I really liked. I don’t know how these guys break up the work load, but together they deliver a complex plot and natural dialog. They also hit a nice rhythm with verbosity giving you more to read when there is a lull in the action and keeping the frames clear for the art when things heat up.

The art is taken care of by Brendan Cahill, and the colors are the work of Joanna Lafuente. I wasn’t familiar with any previous work from either artist. So I was pleased to find their work instantly appealing. Cahill’s art is clean with a nice amount of detail. I really like the features of his faces and his depiction of human form. The book’s theme gives him plenty of opportunity for fun monstrous character designs. Lafuente’s coloring matches Cahill’s clean detailed look. I am going to guess that she is doing her coloring on the computer and that makes all the pages really crisp. Whether day or night, indoor or out, in a dream or the harsh reality of the mirror above the sink at midnight Lafuente comes up with a fitting palette for each. Together these two produce a beautiful visual story that can go toe to toe with any top produced comic.

Darkness Visible is the first title I have tried from IDW, and they are doing some good stuff. I appreciate that there are cover options with each issue. You usually get a choice of three; standard, subscription, and incentive variant. They are all based on the actual issue unlike some variants, and they are all good and different. So instead of picking the lesser of two evils, I click back and forth between images trying to decide which one will look better in person.  The book quality is also good. I can tell because the cover and the pages don’t get all wavy after I read it in my humid environment. I think they hit on a bit of magic with the title. It describes the idea of demons among us coming out from inside us, and has an oxymoronic feel that makes it stick. It has that coolness my friends and I were looking for when naming our metal band in highschool. Darkness Visible #4 is a very good comic, and it looks like the trade for the first issues will be available in a month. If a hard-boiled demon mystery sounds interesting take a walk down the ally of Darkness Visible.

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