The Ark is like the biggest culmination of genres and comic influences, merged into one well-crafted story. Some of those familiar elements are obviously sci-fi based which you can tell from the cover, but then the next major theme is race and segregation which is something that the X-Men have always dealt with in comics. The major difference is that Ark doesn’t stop there with its plot and story elements as it adds in a murder mystery on top of everything else.
The space ship Explorer was created to find another suitable planet for life. Its crew members are humans that have basically volunteered their lives to the cause with the realization that they’re likely never to return home. On board are meta-humans; a scientific hybrid of human and animal DNA. They look like anthropomorphic people, but retain a lot of the special characteristics that their base species have. They are the passengers of the ship and spend their days learning and studying for the day they find another planet to inhabit.
It’s been thirteen years since the Explorer left earth and the Captain has come to a decision on something that will adversely affect the ships dynamic. They’re communication has been cut off from earth and he’s decided to add the meta-humans to the crew and give them duties on the ship. He meets with his first and second mate to discuss it. His first mate Victor is opposed to the merging of the passengers and the crew, while the Captain’s daughter (and second mate) is for it. The Captain calls for a meeting and lets the crew and passengers know the situation and the plan going forward.
During this scene we’re introduced to key characters to the plot including Gerry a monkey meta-human. After the meeting, the Captain asks for Gerry’s help in checking the communication system since he’s a bit of a genius. Little do the Captain and Gerry know that this one single act will change everyone’s lives forever.
There is so much I want to say about this book that I can’t. I can give you bare bones information because anything more than that would ruin the entire story for you. The writing is incredibly strong and the story is perfectly paced. What I also enjoyed about the story was the fact that even though it technically wrapped everything up, the seeds for another story have been planted.
The concept for the story is very entertaining and though it has several familiar elements to it, the way they’re executed is what makes it unique and stand out. Meta-humans, space travel, none of these are new ideas; but mixed together with everything else and you have a standout story. The dialog and character relationships also play a huge role in the success for the story and keep it from just being a “concept story.”
When you say meta-humans people think of Marvel’s Mutants and there are two types that they focus on: human looking ones with powers and deformed ones with powers. The two groups rarely mix together in the comics and Marvel chooses to focus primarily on the beautiful ones (with a few exceptions of course). With Ark, the meta-humans may be anthropomorphic for the most part, but they’re still beautiful. The women are absolutely gorgeous and the men are pretty hunky themselves. Sure not all of their faces are human looking, but for the most part it’s a great mixture of both worlds with the detailed character designs. The art compliments the plot and supplies the story with numerous stand out scenes that contribute to the plot visually.
I was probably the perfect demographic for this series. I enjoy Sci-Fi and science based space travel; I also enjoy meta-human species hybrid characters and who the hell doesn’t enjoy a good murder mystery? Even though I’m the perfect demographic, this story would still stand on its own merits of having a fantastic story that was well written and populated with terrific characters. Then add in the fact that the art and character designs are stunning and this book really stands out from the rest of comics currently on the shelves. If you’re looking for an original graphic novel that delivers an entertaining and well-crafted story then check out Ark.
Writer: Peter Dabbene
Artist: Ryan Bayliss
Publisher: Acrana Studios
Price: $19.95 print, $4.99 digital
Release Date: 4/3/13
Website: Ark Facebook Page