After what feels like an extended delay, Darkhold Alpha is here kicking off the miniseries that promises to twist and turn some of our favorite heroes. The story focuses on Scarlet Witch who must assemble a team to stop Chthon who’s back and wants to break into our world. Who’s Chthon? Well, the demon has history with Wanda and that’s all you need to know. While I’m sure there might be something more interesting in the comic for those who know the history, it’s not vital. But, of course things can’t be easy and as this debut ends, exactly where this series is going could be interesting.
Written by Steve Orlando, Darkhold Alpha has a bit of a vibe of the 1990s Marvel horror line. The Darkhold played a key roll then, so it’s not surprising that this issue has echoes in that era of comics. What Orlando does that’s solid is set up the challenge as exactly that, a challenge. Dr. Doom is the one who sets things in motion by trying to obtain the Darkhold and through Doom, Orlando makes it feel like our heroes really have a battle ahead. Here is an arrogant but powerful character who can’t stand up to Chthon himself. That choice is a solid one as it doesn’t feel like a character is sacrificed for the hell of it. If Doom is so easily beaten, what chance do our heroes have?
There’s some foreshadowing that is a bit too obvious. Our heroes must prepare to enter the “Other World” to take on Chthon and prepare their minds. Read too much of the Darkhold and they become corrupted. You can see where this is going after the fifth time that’s uttered. It’s a little too obvious but creates a nice hurdle in that the future of this story isn’t as clear. Where one might have expected the heroes to get “powered up” and go and battle, that’s not quite as clear now.
Cian Tormey‘s art is good. There’s some good emotion and cool character designs but there’s also some panels which feel a little odd in reactions. Where Tormey excels is in some small details, a Doombot’s head on fire for example, or Doom himself beaten up. With color by Jesus Aburtov and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the look of the comic fits the horror genre well without being dark and ominous. It keeps its feet planted in the world of superheroes and the magical side of the Marvel Universe and does it well.
Darkhold Alpha is an interesting start. There’s a lot thrown in and it does an excellent job of explaining things. As far as beginnings, it does what it needs to setting things up and keeping the overall story a bit of a guess. While this so far isn’t a miniseries that’s a must read, it does have enough interesting aspects to check out and see where it all goes.
Story: Steve Orlando Art: Cian Tormey
Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.65 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review