Review: Dark Beach #1

Dark Beach is one of those stories that could happen in our life time, but likely won’t. It’s not the present, but it’s not the distant and far-fetched future. We meet a photographer that sneaks crime scene photos for the newspaper. No, it is not Nightcrawler, be thankful for that. The setting is interesting. The earth has been knocked out of orbit and is now drifting away from the sun. In a strange bit of science, the world isn’t completely frozen over and there’s artificial light beamed from space. Gordo, our main character gets to the crime scene before the police and it’s a strange scene. A woman wearing some Strange Days looking helmet is dead and Gordo finds himself wanting to get involved in the mystery that’s behind her death.

DB_Cover_01His motivation is a bit unclear at the moment. Why did he feel the need to get involved? Because of the evidence he took or because he’s seen one too many deaths? It definitely seems like he has a knack for detective work, but it’s pretty clear that this is his first voyage into the field.

The story is interesting. The character development is pretty solid, but it is confusing as to what Gordo’s motivation is. Still, the creative team does a fine job of getting the reader wrapped up in the mystery behind her death and the possible mystery around the disappearance of the sun. Really that confusion is the only downside of the story. The rest is well-written with a great sense of pacing and world development.

The art is moody and I mean that as a compliment. The dark and neon colors build the concept behind the “dark world” that the story takes place in. You really do get the impression that night is eternal and it’s clear that it’s messing with Gordo on some level due to the way he acts and sleeps. There’s a lot of great layout choices, in particular the page in which Gordo looks at his film and everything is at an angle almost as if it were off centered on the table in front of him. There’s also a great psychedelic scene that’s brief, but effective.

I enjoyed Dark Beach. The narration wasn’t overpowering, the characters were interesting and the mystery dug it’s hooks into me. I’m hopeful that a few questions asked in this issue will be answered in the next issue or soon after that. Otherwise, it’s a P.I. type story without the overplayed clichés of that genre, set in an interesting world. Dark Beach has potential as long as the creative team stays the course. Currently the project is seeking funding on Kickstarter so click the link below if you’re interested, it’s reached its goal so really it’s a win-win for you to jump on now.

Score: 4/5

Dark Beach #1 Story: Michael J. Ruiz-Unger, Tucker Tota, Matthew Mongelia Writer: Tucker Tota Artist: Sebastian Piriz Colorist: Ray Jones Website Kickstarter