Taking on a further meta-level, A Dark Interlude manages to consistently maintain the additional layers of post-modernism. The overall purpose of the book is to display how our current culture is being influenced through the zeitgeist we live in.
The level of push and pull that Ryan O’Sullivan creates is simply stellar. In the first two pages of the book, we’re greeted by two pages that act as a representative letter mimicking Warren Ellis’s public apology after various women came forward about his sexual predation. This is its own meta-reference for the fact that Warren Ellis was a pull-quote for the original Fearscape. Considering this little jab at his own former self, it seems Henry Henry has been mischievous throughout the publication of this book — just look at those solicitations!
After the stunning success of Fearscape, comes A Dark Interlude, the story of — No! The only offence to literature greater than the loathsome synopsis is the sequel. I will not stand idle while some poor excuse for an editor mangles and confuses my story, which is intact, perfect, and concluded, with this derivative drivel. Mark my words, this nonsense has nothing to do with my tale. I am not in it. I do not condone it. And you, dear reader, should not buy it. – Henry Henry
This story is one big jab at the idea of sequels, never letting itself off the hook for being one. It manages to juggle quite a bit of complexity for a story within the comics medium. At times it allows itself to be humorous, but other times it’s a wonderful commentary on societal norms. One of my favorites is dealing with the idea of originality and plagiarism. With Henry Henry deeming himself a plagiarist, the continuation of his story asks, “What happens next?”. It’s a magnetic way to embrace our current societal glut of culture and news that makes people mimic the works of others without pure intent. This becomes even more of a far cry when we look at the incessant need for sequels and reboots.
Artist Andrea Mutti does a wonderful job as usual. Her lines are these beautiful washes that are as though this tale was weaved from a storybook. It even goes beyond that with how backgrounds in certain areas are consistently shifting into the world of Fearscape, but what’s more is the impression the real-world environments leave behind.
Furthermore, colorist Vladimir Popov imprints these magnificent pages for readers to be able to capture this new world. The stark contrast of color usage from when readers are in Fearscape to when they’re in the real world. This impression is even further enhanced by letterer Andworld Design alongside its designer Tim Daniel. The letters allow for this crisp flow that helps enhance Henry Henry’s wit, while the overall design of the book enhances the absurdism at the heart of this book.
This is one of the best not quite-sequels to a book I’ve read. A Dark Interlude holds a societal antidote while making it go down easy. Pick it up at your store before they run out.
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