Review: Dark Fang #1

Her name is Valla. In life she was a fisherwoman. In death she is a vampire residing peacefully on the bottom of the ocean. When a mysterious dark plague descends upon her aquatic paradise, she must venture to the surface in search of answers.

What she finds is a world headed towards an environmental collapse that will eventually wipe out her food supply. If Valla is to continue to have the blood she needs to survive, then she must stop the fossil fuel industries from destroying the planet-no matter the cost.

Dark Fang has an interesting premise as promoted above and while the first issue teases at it, it doesn’t quite get to that interesting premise.

Written by Miles Gunter, Dark Fang #1 introduces us to Valla as she focuses on amassing money for… something. That something is revealed eventually but the why still lingers. That’s all well and good but that mystery compounds a first issue that’s riddled with them with not enough explained to really make the pitch as to why this series stands out.

With a tone that’s somewhat humorous, the first issue is an interesting one as Valla learns about the world but that focus raises a lot of questions. How long has she been wandering around that she doesn’t get cell phones? She’s clearly been in her present location enough to have a familiar and a place to live. So while she might not be good with technology to lack of any understanding feels like an odd choice for the character.

While the first issue focuses on Valla’s goal to buy something, we’re also provided an origin that also feels a little off in history based on Valla’s clothing versus what’s presented as far as the vampires she’s changed by. That feels more dark ages while her clothing is rather modern. It’s a small detail, like her issues with a cell phone, that stand out and take me out of the story.

The build up is nice though. We’re shown why Valla comes to love the environment and teased as to what takes her out of her paradise and why she’d seek revenge against those destroying it. Though we never get to that part with that money buying thing coming off as an odd side quest.

The art by Kelsey Shannon is really cute and mixes blood, gore, a cartoony look, and some sexiness into it all. The coloring pops with a solid palette being chosen for each particular segment and all of it coming together to create a style that’s intriguing. There’s also lots of thought put into what to show and the comic never crosses the line into porn or gore. In that way the art feels more appropriate for a broader range of ages than the story feels like. It’s an interesting balance of it all.

The first issue is interesting but I’m rather perplexed to be honest. It feels like two different comics mashed together and the connection to the pitch comes far too late. It’s a comic that has a lot of promise but it doesn’t quite deliver on it. Instead though, what’s presented is still an entertaining story though it’s a bit choppy with two sections that don’t quite feel like they flow together.

Story: Miles Gunter Art: Kelsey Shannon
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.25 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review