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'Dark Spaces: Dungeon' #1 advance review
IDW

Comic Books

‘Dark Spaces: Dungeon’ #1 advance review

In some respects, this feels like the best of Clive Barker and Saw melded into one.

The spooky season is nearly upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re already there, ready for more Dark Spaces comics to spook up your life. In Dark Spaces: Dungeon, out October 11th, Scott Snyder and Hayden Sherman team up for a truly unique serial killer story complete with traps, edgy detectives, and a man who has everything to lose. With an advance copy, I dive into the first issue, keeping things as spoiler-free as possible.

Something you’ll notice with Dungeon is the impeccable pacing. The page layout of the first page features a cold forest, five panels of a bunny, and then a “Whump” that leads to a discovery under the snow. This page sets up the quiet of an escape, keeping the audience as disorientated as the victim. Sherman’s art is detailed and realistic, with a cold and edgy tone that you don’t want to look away from. Even in scenes without any horrors, there seems to be some evil lurking.

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That evil is, of course, tied to a dungeon. One might imagine there’s some symbology going on. Sure, there may be a literal dungeon, but when a killer tortures people, aren’t we all stuck in a kind of dungeon of the mind? That’s something I was chewing on after putting down the first issue.

'Dark Spaces: Dungeon' #1 advance review

An unlettered opening page.
Credit: IDW

This issue sets up the two main characters well. The first is a father who is a busy businessman who travels quite a bit. His wife and son are happy and normal enough. Meanwhile, the detective is edgy, intense, and willing to take chances. His character is the most intriguing out of the two as we learn more about him. One could see this character making choices that are reckless to keep his eye on the prize. There’s a killer out there, after all.

Avoiding spoilers, but let’s say there’s a Saw level of disturbing methods of pain introduced in this issue. The concept feels fresh even if it fits within the confines of a torturer with a seemingly impossibly made trap. Whether or not we learn more about this horror remains to be seen, but I’d be happy to figure out how it all works. Like something out of Hellraiser, this pain machine has a strange satanic beauty.

'Dark Spaces: Dungeon' #1 advance review

An unlettered page.
Credit: IDW

I also love the colors by Patricio Delpeche, who brings a watercolor look to trees and environments. The use of shadow and light is also exceptional. The visuals have an almost wistful feel, thanks to the color choices.

Layouts add to the fluid nature of the colors by Sherman. One features a shocking moment from the detective as he saves lives. The way the bottom panel cuts unnaturally creates a heightened sense of chaos. Readers should pay close attention to the layouts, as panels tend to go a little untraditional in their look and placement.

'Dark Spaces: Dungeon' #1 advance review

An unlettered page.
Credit: IDW

I’m hooked on Dark Spaces: Dungeon #1 with a payoff in the form of a bonafide dungeon. There’s a grim vibe to Dungeon that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. In some respects, this feels like the best of Clive Barker and Saw melded into one.

'Dark Spaces: Dungeon' #1 advance review
‘Dark Spaces: Dungeon’ #1 advance review
Dark Spaces: Dungeon #1
I'm hooked on Dark Spaces: Dungeon #1 with a payoff in the form of a bonafide dungeon. There's a grim vibe to Dungeon that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go. In some respects, this feels like the best of Clive Barker and Saw melded into one.
Reader Rating2 Votes
8.8
Intriguing horror device introduced
Compelling detective character
A grim, somber, and cold horror vibe
Wished there was more about the killer, though it seems we'll get that and more in the second issue
9
Great
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