Rating: 4/5 – A World with ‘Demons’ Inhabiting Willing Human Hosts.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
Darkness Visible from IDW Publishing seems like a ‘flying under the radar title’, I don’t hear very much talk about it, but it’s a solid read and the 3rd issue of the series is the best yet, providing critical backstory about how the world of ‘today’ with demons riding around inside human hosts came to be. We discover that the roots trace back to World War II in this flashback issue.
The world writers Mike Carey and Arvind Ethan David have set up is one where the Shaitan, an extra-dimensional race that may or may not be the ‘demons’ associated with many religious depictions of the ‘bad place’ in their afterlife, want a foothold in our dimension. The only catch is that they need to have a willing human host that they ‘possess’. The demons are immortal and they grant that immortality on their human hosts. Unfortunately for the hosts, the demons are the more dominant partner in the bargain, reducing the human consciousness to a secondary role of being the ‘rider’ with the Shaitan in control. Issue 3 takes the reader back to WW II where the demon queen, inhabiting Lady Caroline Vivian since 1853, make a deal with Winston Churchill to provide hosts for Shaitan who will in turn help Britain win the war against Nazi Germany. The details of the bargain and the results as the next few years pass are the crux of this issue’s story, so I won’t spoil them here.
The art in this issue, by Livio Ramondelli, has a different feel from that of Brendan Cahill who did the 1st 2 issues, but that feel approriate given the flashback nature of this issue and will help set this apart from the rest of the story when it is ultimately collected in a single volume. Cahill has more traditional comic book ink lines defining the figures in a sharper fashion. Ramondelli, also handling his own colors, has a softer and somewhat diffused look in his final art that lends a nice atmosphere to the story. Ramondelli’s art is solid, but I had a bit of an issue with the faces of the human characters, this is an area where he will likely improve over time as he does more work with human characters (he’s done a lot of work on Transformers comics) . While I mention it as a critical review point for the art, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the issue, his storytelling is otherwise solid
If you’re a fan of alternate history stories with a fantastical element mixed in to provide the divergence point, Darkness Visible should be right up your alley. I was suitably impressed with issue #3 and I believe it can be read as a standalone story, or as a precursor to buying the 1st 2 issues to see the story that has been set up in the present day, following that with issues 4 and beyond. I enjoyed the 1st 2 issues but #3 kicked it up a notch by providing this excellent exploration of the backstory that resulted in the world we were dropped into in issue #1. This isn’t a comic that will jump off the rack at most readers, but it’s well worth tracking down or asking your local shop to order for you if you like these kinds of stories.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics