Review: The Ark

The Ark is one of those stories that you need the creator to explain to you. I actually learned more about this book by reading the back, but I didn’t do that until after I read the book because I like to see how my take differs. In this case, it differs a lot, but I think that even after reading the back of the book you’ll likely still differ yourself. The ark in question is an actual ark that is being pulled by someone that’s wearing a diving suit… across a barren wasteland of sand and dry dirt. At this point I should tell you that A) the story only gets stranger from this set up and B) only has narration between chapters which doesn’t accompany the art. It’s almost a silent story because of this especially since none of the characters are given any dialogue. After we see our diver pulling the ark and see it carving out part of the earth we run into an assortment of characters and they all kind of connect. At first they don’t, but towards the end all of their paths cross.

And really telling you step by step about the story is pointless. There’s a man looking for what appears to be towers in the desert only to find women in cages that use their nudity to lure men to them so they can steal their life-force. A pilot’s plane goes down and he’s welcomed into a society that lives on stilts and his plane is hung like a dead animal being left to bleed.

TheArk_zoomedFor me the story really ends up being about a world war. We see several different soldiers from different sides of the war and see other civilizations get caught up in the war as well. In the end, war is hell. The back of the books says it’s a fable of man vs nature which I can kind of see, but I think that a lot of the nature aspect is lost in the war.

What I really enjoyed was the artwork and the strange world that it creates. None of the civilizations seem to live in one place, but rather they move with the shifting sands. There’s just a wide variety of strange characters and nuances to each chapter of the story.

The art is very detailed and photorealistic. Which you can’t really fathom until you see it. It’s just an incredible bit of storytelling and world building. What’s even more incredible is that it’s in all black and white and yet so incredibly detailed. The visual storytelling in general is masterful. You don’t need anyone to talk and while I think the deeper meaning is harder to understand, what’s happening on the page is never hard to understand. In fact, there are times that it’s very moving and relatable without a word ever spoken.

It’s hard to say if every comic book reader will enjoy this book, but if you’re more interested in the art, the impressive nature of this visual medium and you enjoy stories outside of capes and tights; then more than likely you’ve been looking for a story like The Ark to experience. It has a European flair to it, but it’s the perfect example of how powerful this medium is with its visuals. In a way this book is going to ask a lot of you while reading it and that’s pretty great, actually.

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The Ark Creator: Stephane Levallois Publisher: Humanoids Price: $24.95 Release Date: Format: TPB/Hardcover; Print/Digital