Saturday, March 23, 2013

Exclusive Review: Ark by Peter Dabbene and Ryan Bayliss

Ark by Peter Dabbene & Ryan Bayliss
Arcana, 2013
Ark, written by Peter Dabbene and illustrated by Ryan Bayliss is a new graphic novel coming out in the Fall from Arcana Comics, available for download via Comixology this Wednesday, March 27.

Unfortunately, it is quite dreadful. A sci-fi story about a group of humans and sentient human-animal hybrids sent into space 13 years ago, communications from Earth are suddenly and mysteriously cut off. Up until this point, the passengers were split between human crew and hybrid passengers. The hybrids are all very silly combinations of animal (and even plant) and human characteristics. The social structure of the ship isn't very believable for a group of people living together for over a decade. The mystery of the hybrids' presence on the mission and the reason for the cutoff from Earth is revealed like a brick through a window, and some ludicrous shit goes down including a couple of murders and a revolt for good measure. Nothing about this comic, neither the story and nor the art, are remotely capable of meeting the suspension of disbelief necessary to get through its 140 pages. The exposition (and the sci part of the sci-fi) and the art throughout is hamfisted and sloppy at best. The characterizations are as one-dimensional as the art. This is a pretty dumb, poorly illustrated comic.

The download price when it goes live on Wednesday is $4.99, and there are worse things you can blow your money on in comics. Many mainstream work-for-hire comics at the same price aren't any better than this, and at the very least you're getting a whole original graphic novel and supporting independent comics. The creators get a grade for effort, but trying is not always succeeding. And potential readers would be better off trying something else.

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