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Dark Ark #7 is out in stores this week and it continues the story of the sorcerer Shrae and his family as they brave the great flood aboard a second Ark full of all the unnatural creatures of the world that God has deemed unworthy of salvation.
This issue, titled “Beneath the Surface,” deals with the discovery of an ancient sea creature that has been following in the depths below Noah’s Ark. Noah and his son Shem have been feeding the creature sacrifices to keep it appeased and despite all their prayers, none have been answered. This of course is because the angels came down from the heavens to Shrae and his Dark Ark, mistaking it for Noah’s. The devil has instructed Shrae to covertly find out what is ailing Noah’s Ark and to make things right to ensure the Ark’s safe arrival to the new world. Shrae sends out his demons to investigate and upon discovering the sea monster, they return to the Dark Ark to report their findings.
This issue also flashes back to just before the flood when Shrae heads into town with his daughter Kahlee and his son Orin to gather supplies for the journey and to recruit volunteers to help build the ark in trade for safe passage. While in the village Kahlee witnesses a very disturbing sight and as she is sitting contemplating this she is approached by a young girl named Janris. They become fast friends and Janris comes aboard the Dark Ark as a volunteer. These humans that have agreed to come aboard have also unknowingly sealed their fate and now will be food for the monsters on board during their journey.
Back in the present, Shrae approaches the pens where the volunteers are kept like cattle until it is time for them to be called to be fed upon. He walks up to Janris and tells her that it is her time. Kahlee begs and pleads with her father not to feed her friend to the monsters and it is then that she discovers that Janris will be given over to the manticore Kruul exclusively as part of a deal between Kruul and Shrae. Kruul flies off and finds Noah’s Ark with the dark shadow of the gigantic creature looming in the waters below. As he approaches the ancient sea monster it speaks to Krull. The creature asks him if he has come to pay tribute or to be a sacrifice to which Kruul replies that he has a message from Shrae. The dark sorcerer wants to meet with it.
This series started out as a five-part linear story. These last couple issues continuing it have taken that story and not only expanded upon it, but have also gone back in time to explain the events leading up to the great flood. It shows how Kahlee and Janris first met and how the human volunteers were tricked by Shrae into building the ark for him only to become food for the beasts within. This is some amazing writing from Cullen Bunn — the way he weaves this tale is both sinister and heartfelt. The use of sacrifice, in particular, weighs very heavily on this issue. Noah is forced to sacrifice the animals he is sworn to protect for the greater good of his Ark. Shrae must also sacrifice in the form of Janris. Although Janris holds no real meaning to him, she means a lot to Kahlee and he must do what he can to solve this issue of the sea monster in spite of that. This event is sure to play a larger role in the relationship between Shrae and his daughter Kahlee in the issues to come. Bunn also throws a delicious piece of irony into the dialogue between Noah and his son Shem: Noah says to Shen that the creature must have been sent by the devil to torment them, when it is, in fact, the devil who has secretly sent Shrae out to be the source of their salvation.
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Juan Doe’s extraordinary artwork on this issue continues to excite and amaze. His work is very moody and gritty yet beautiful. He manages to capture the the dark ominous nature of the situations while also conveying a very human quality to the emotion of the characters. Doe’s action sequences glide and move across the page and and are very compelling to look at.
This has been an amazing series so far filled with twists and turns. It is dark and sinister but it is also a human tale at its core. This issue pushes the story even further while also explaining why things are the way they are. I highly recommend this series to any fan of horror comics and this issue is a must have for anyone who has been following this story.
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