Off the Shelf: Dark Engine Volume 1

Dark Engine vol 1

Nutshell: Dark Engine is a mind-trip.  You’re either down for not knowing what the frak is going on, or you’re not.  I’m not.  Get a coherent storyline together, and I’ll try again.  Grade: D

Story: Who the hell knows?  A woman named Sym has been sent back in time to kill a big dinosaur queen that has caused the destruction of their planet.  Then there’s Egyptians, Vikings and a Chinese palace.  Much blood — and a Terminator-esque “twist” — ensues.  Cue the Cthulhu-lite, navel-gazing dialogue!

Thoughts:  I could simply jot down the notes I wrote while I was reading this, but typing “WTF IS GOING ON IS THIS OVER YET” twelve times gets repetitive.  Image Comics, I know that you’re all about cutting edge, and John Bivens’ art in this series is that in spades. I’m definitely getting a “Swamp Thing Meets  H.R. Geiger” thing, and I’m liking it.  (Best Panel: exploding hippo.  ‘Nuff said.)  But writer Ryan Burton is all over the place with his story.  Dark Engine suffers from creators being so into their own heads about what’s going on that they forget to clue in the readers.  “Close-up” panels during major action scenes help cement the feeling that more’s going on in the gutters than in the panels.

Subscribe or Shelve: While the art is fetching, the storyline (such as it is) is not.  Come back to me when you’re more coherent.  Or at least slip a few tabs of acid onto the page, so I can share in the trip you’re so obviously on.  Bogarting ain’t friendly, y’all.

Publication 411: Hit shelves January 6th, 2015.  Collects Dark Engine #1-4.

[NOTE: I received a copy of this title pre-publication via Netgalley.  I received no compensation for my review.]

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