I would like to start this review by offering up a little disclaimer. The first six issues of A Voice in the Dark could possibly be some of the most intense storytelling out in the comics world today. Larime Taylor's little tale of Zoey Aarons, an up and coming serial killer who is trying to find her way in the world blends in all the elements of good suspense and drama, and turns it up a notch by making our serial killer, likable, appealing, and innocent. If you met her out on the street, you would see a lady who exudes a quiet coolness and likeability factor. She is friendly, intelligent, attractive, and really looks like she is in control. That's the outside. On the inside, she is battling an urge. But this urge is strong and beginning to to take her over as events and persons around her are drawing that urge out. Once out, we really don't know what will happen to Ms. Aarons. But as a reader, I do know this...It has me wholly curious and interested. Everything about the story is rich and full. There is the primary story of Zoey, trying to break the desire to kill, but also slowly working to embrace it as she has determined her victim and is preparing for the deed with gusto and confidence. Events happening within this issue actually might (will) add to the body count. The reason we know this is that we already know that she will kill. Part of the story takes place after the act. But the bulk of all the issues work to lead the reader to how she gets there. It's a really creepy effect and works perfectly in adding a dark element to what is being presented.
We also have a side story of another serial killer that is stalking the town, killing coeds, and taking pictures of his brutal exploits. He started in the last issue getting a little bit closer to Zoey by calling into her show. With issue #6, he creeps even closer to Zoey. But where that will remains to be seen as Taylor intentionally withholds information until the appropriate time. A true master stroke if I do say so myself.
A Voice in the Dark continues to addresses some heavy life issues with each passing installment Subjects like female self-image (mind and body), bullying, family dysfunction, college social dynamics, etc. help to add additional texture to tale. We get a new one to ponder here in this one and it will strike some to their core. But it is just another element that adds to the realness that is portrayed.
Hmm, I think that is a good description of the whole arc. A Voice in the Dark is Realness. It is believable and that is where it packs its punch. Everything that happens within these pages can and do happen. Maybe not as much of the serial murdering part. But all of the heady issues do. Everyone reacts differently to them. As for Zoey, well she kills off those things that threaten her being. It is real emotion pinned out on a real landscape. It's Realness, pure and simple.
Taylor's writing is masterful and his art? Yeah it's Realness too. It just blows me away that he renders these drawings without the use of his hands. His tones are smooth and flowing and combined with the writing, you get the Realness factor all over. It's really good.
I have previously mentioned the use of non color and how it works for this story as it gives a grainy detachment to its portrayal. It leaves the reader with an emptiness that captures what is going through Zoey's mind too. After reading some of the letters at the end of this one, it is becoming apparent that others are digging on the non color too. So much so, that Taylor is pondering if the next arc after this one should be done in color. My only advice to Mr. Taylor is to follow his heart on it. He has not had one misstep at all within this arc and I trust his judgment wholeheartedly. The man is a genius, A brilliant mad genius that has me craving each issue like some Pavlovian dog. Woof man, I say, woof. More please.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Larime Taylor Publisher: Image/Top Cow Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/16/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital