I had read about the amazing talents of Larime Taylor. He is a guy who due to a birth defect, has to do all of his writing with his mouth… Like everything with his mouth… the drawing, the inking, lettering… you name it. Knowing this and then seeing it on print in his comic, you realize something, talent is talent. Some people have it, some people don’t. As for Mr. Taylor, he has it in spades. His website (www.larimetaylor.com) describes him as a “disabled artist and storyteller”. He may be disabled, but he definitely is a storyteller; a real good storyteller at that. Not knowing anything about Larime Taylor and his disability beforehand, A Voice in the Dark is a solid comic all the way around. From the writing to the art… even the black and white presentation over color gives the issue a captivating, intense, and yes, I will say it, scary depiction of the life of Zoey Aarons, a serial killer in the making who’s trying to fight the desire as she enters a new phase of her young life.
Any fan of the television show Dexter or any first person narrative dealing with the human mind and trying to wrap oneself around it (The movie Momento comes to mind) will enjoy this work. If you are not into serial killers, the book still hits on so many areas that it can be enjoyable in many capacities. Our star Zoey, is a whole lot like Dexter Morgan (from the television show), except she is a young bi-racial “super student” beginning her first semester at an elite women’s college with a full scholarship. This doesn’t really sound like Dexter at all now that I think about it. Actually, the Dexter part emits itself through Zoey’s thoughts, diary entries, and arguments with the mirror. In spite of her modest and good loving upbringing, Zoey harbors a desire to kill. The view of blood on flesh excites her and she has nearly daily fantasies about killing people in various ways for nothing more than laughing, giving a comment, or simply saying “hello”.
She understands that this is not a normal thing, so she tries to conceal it and find outlets to help ease the urges, but recent events have let the “genie out of the bottle” so to speak and she feels that the urge is beginning to overtake her. To help combat it, she has begun working on an anonymous caller radio talk show to use it as a means to help contain the desire. Like a voyeur who uses images to help curb lust, Zoey hopes that listening to others’ secrets will allow the dark side of her an opportunity to fulfill supply and thus keep the want to kill under control. Issue #1 makes it to the first show, and right now, it is anybody’s guess as to how the show will affect Zoey.
A Voice in the Dark cuts (no pun intended) a true cross-section out of life. It addresses issues such as mental illness, teen bullying, racial stereotypes, homosexuality, family dynamics, etc. etc. To cram so much into a first issue and to have an additional side story regarding Zoey’s Uncle and his work, truly is a master stroke. It is very impressive all the way around. But what makes this story so strong is not just the story, but the artwork as well.
Zoey, despite these homicidal passions, she is drawn as a socially awkward unassuming young lady. If you saw her on the street, you would never suspect her of harboring such dark thoughts. Yet when you read the story and you see in detail her “imagined” kills combined with her “actual” kill that we know of, you see exactly what the title conveys. The voice in the dark is out there, but you really don’t know what it is. This is a very nice effect that comes out in the writing.
The writing also adds to that artwork as you hear the words written in the diary, see the words as she argues with the mirror, and then see her regular everyday reactions when talking to others. The fact that she wonders if others can tell what she is thinking is a testament to the power of what A Voice in the Dark brings. It is mesmerizing.
Here in the first issue, we are given facts as well as some very perplexing emotionally charged data. It is a very nice touch that Zoey’s gay Uncle Zeke is a homicide investigator and “one of the best” in the opinion of Zoey who obviously has admiration for him (Think Walter White and Hank from Breaking Bad). It leaves for the potential for some very interesting things that are possible in the future. Also, the black and white art works amazingly in the depiction of Zoey. It offers a level of detachedness that really helps to nail into the essence of who Zoey is. She is a cold and detached black and white person at this time, trying to curtail those urges that grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.
A Voice in the Dark stands strong as a very good and powerful story that brings into the forefront the talents of Mr. Larime Taylor. He can write… write well in fact… and his artwork is flawless. You should definitely take a good look at this work. I don’t think that this will be the last you hear of him.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Larime Taylor Publisher: Top Cow/Minotaur Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/20/13