Darkness Visible #1 ComicWow! Review

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Mike Carey worked on Unwritten, Lucifer, Girl with All the Gifts, Hellblazer, 2000AD, X-Men: Legacy, and more.

Arvind Ethan David’s credits include Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, but he is more known for his work as a film producer and screenwriter.  His credits include Tormented, Dirk, Faintheart, French Film, Sugarhouse, The Infidel, and an upcoming supernatural action film called “Wake.”

Brendan Cahill’s art work includes Transformers, and the webcomic Outside the Box.  He’s also a writer with credits including Silver Sable and Morbius.

The premise behind this comic is that for a couple of generations, demons have been among us, living in the open.  An uneasy assimilation has taken place between the Shaitan (from the Arabic word شيطان    “shaytan,” demon) and the humans.

The comic is set in London, which has a Shaitan terrorist problem, in addition to the ‘normal’ demonic crime problems.  The police, (now referred to as Cyclops) are overwhelmed.

The story follows a police detective named Daniel Ashton.  He’s a single parent, and he is driving home with his daughter when an emergency call changes his world.  In a very few pages, he is presented as a fully realized dynamic character.  The London of Darkness Visible is not a postcard; it is an ever-so-slightly (but profoundly) altered reality.

Wounded in a shootout with demons, he and his daughter are being transported with a wounded demon when tragedy strikes.

Arvind Ethan David is British, and his choice of London as the backdrop for this comic is natural.  It feels very organic. Carey’s experience with the supernatural is likewise evident.  There is a lot going on in this comic, yet the pace feels natural, not rushed.

Interestingly, despite the strong and obvious supernatural action theme of this comic, it has a strong feel of a police procedural.  In a way, it is reminiscent of Fox’s Alien Nation (based on the movie with James Caan and Mandy Patinkin,) which mixed alien refugees into LA.  Carey and David focus on character and action, and create a tremendous contrast for the fantastic elements.

Cahill’s art is likewise a study in contrasts.  It is realistic without being gritty or noir.  This allows a similarly powerful distinction to be drawn.

The writers and artist are united in maintaining the focus on the characters and the story, rather than special effects and flash.  There are no swirls of eldritch energy, no gigantic monsters, and no magic spell ZAP’s.  This creative team is not working to overwhelm readers.

They are working to interest and engage readers, and they succeed brilliantly.

Written by: Mike Carey & Arvind Ethan David

Illustrated by: Brendan Cahill