cover image The Dark

The Dark

Mark Sable and Kristian Donaldson. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-5067-2459-1

Sable (Dracula: Son of the Dragon) and Donaldson (Supermarket) employ some Max Brooks–level future thinking threaded through a Halo-esque story line in this rapid-fire cyberpunk action comic. Things kick off in 2035, with “networked exoskeletal operator” Robert Carver fighting Russians in bombed-out Latvia with a squad of comrades who share all their senses. When Russia ends World War III with a massive Stuxnet-like attack taking down the entire internet, Carver is his squad’s only survivor. Ten years later, Carver—mourning his comrades’ loss but sporting new cybernetic eyes that can help him interpret when people are lying—is called to investigate a breach at the NSA. His globe-trotting hunt crosses paths with Camille, a punk biohacker turned mercenary with mysterious motives. The off-the-shelf supervillain looming behind the murky espionage plot is Gustav Magnussen, a global metadata magnate with an anti-government animus who reads as a mixture of Peter Thiel and Dr. Evil. Sable’s imagination frequently outruns the plot, with the implications of his brave new world’s “biotech” revolution (viruses and living tissue replace silicon as a technology platform) barely investigated before moving on to the next shoot-out. Donaldson’s art amplifies the action with dramatic close-ups and vivid color-backgrounds, but the characters are somewhat uniformly rendered in hyper-fit superhero musculature. This one’s packed with head-spinning ideas but missing a pulse. (Dec.)