Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, August 29, 2010
      ( 8/29/2010 10:03:00 PM ) Bill S.  

“SOLAR CITY MIGHT BE INSUFFERABLE, BUT IT ISN’T DULL.” With its plot credited to director Antoine Fuqua and actor Wesley Snipes, it’s clear that the three-part mini-series After Dark (Radical Comics) fits under the comics line’s overarching umbrella of producing movie-ready comics. A harsh post-Apocalyptic quest, Dark takes a small crew of military types and criminal outcasts out of the (relatively) safe confines of Solar City and drops them into the blackest wastelands of a pollution ravaged Europe. Our quarrelsome crew (is there any other type?) is searching for a Madonna-like woman called Angel in the hopes that bringing this possibly mythological figure back to Solar City will provide hope to the increasingly more discontented city dwellers.

Not all of our team make a distinct impression during the first issue of this Peter Milligan-scripted mini-series. The two most obvious movie leads prove the aptly named drugged-up military man Colonel Brood and the mystical Bedouin navigator Omar. The latter is able to able to navigate by the stars even through a pitch black, pollution festooned sky “filled with unpredictable matter.” Sort of like being able to pilot a fighter ship blindfolded and guided by the Force, I guess.

The crew gets separated when one of the military types, a hard-nosed female trooper named Jones (think Jenette Goldstein in the second Alien movie), becomes violently sick from a “hermaphroditic viral strain” in mid-flight to Archipelago City. After the inevitable “the mission is all important” debates, four of the crew wind up on the inhospitable Euro ground, one of ‘em the Bedouin navigator Omar. Wanna bet which half of our gang’ll be the first to find Angel in an upcoming ish?

On the basis of its first entry, Dark looks to be a fairly formula B-picture s-f horror yarn, told with minimal fuss and plenty of hard-ass attitude. Illustrator Jeff Nentrup (aided with “additional art” by Sara Biddle) slathers on the darkness effectively, though at times his glisten-y faced treatment of his people seems at odds with the grittiness of this futureworld. Wish he’d provided a close-up of the only apocalyptic mutation to show up in the first issue, the “blind bugs,” but he makes up for it with a satisfying severed arm panel. A nice bloody bit of wholly unnecessary violence: Fuqua and Snipes clearly know their target audience.

(First published on Blogcritics.)


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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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