Review – The Whispering Dark #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Christofer Emgård
Artwork: Thomás Aira
Letters: Mauro Mantella
Release Date: 24th October 2018

Stranded behind enemy lines, her chopper blown out of the sky and her captain dead, Chief Warrant Officer Hannah Vance must take charge of the team of Rangers she was sent to rescue. The team must traverse a treacherous landscape whilst being pursued by enemy forces and… something else…

Dark Horse cites this story as a supernatural thriller in the traditions of Lovecraft and Apocalypse Now and I don’t think that is too bold of a claim to make. There are certainly all the hallmarks of a Lovecraftian story here, and whilst you know that there is going to be an element of the supernatural or the otherworldly, so much of what you see and read could easily be the product of a fractured mind – which is exactly how it should be. I’m not so sure about the Apocalypse Now reference but we’ll have to see how the story plays out in the coming issues.

Christofer Emgård (Mirrors Edge) sets this story during a war that we have no major details about other than the fact that the Russians are involved. The team that Vance finds herself in charge of have been on a covert mission deep in enemy territory and this is where the first inkling of something other than the normal horrors of war comes into play. These are Rangers, the toughest of the tough and despite their training and discipline, they are terrified. Whatever they’ve seen or done they want to put as much distance between them and it as possible.

At the heart of this first issue however, is Vance’s faith and how it will be tested in extremis. Raised as the child of a preacher, Vance will be forced to make decisions at odds with her lifelong beliefs in order to save the lives of herself and those under her command. I like this as an opening gambit, a good Lovecraftian story should be a slow burn dragging the reader through the protracted mental torment of the protagonist before we even get to any cosmic horrors.

The art works well throughout, there’s a couple of points that really make you just stop dead to process what you’ve just seen but for the most part what you get from Thomás Aira (Night of The Living Dead) is a tense, foreboding environment that becomes more and more claustrophobic as Vance and the team’s options are narrowed down further and further.

This is a great first issue, a dark, tense and claustrophobic story about a team facing insurmountable odds that threaten their sanity… and maybe even their very souls.

Rating: 4.5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott

Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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