by Ryan Burton and John Bivens
Ryan Burton and John Bivens welcome the reader into a world that is all their own. Just from a few brief moments it is very clear how dense and vast the lore of Dark Engine is. The book opens with very cryptic verse and grotesque figures instantly pulling the reader in. What follows is an explosion of action, brutality, and wonderfully fun dark fantasy.
Readers are onlookers in the world of Dark Engine. It feels very much like the readers are witness conversations as that happen and not conversations that happen for the readers. The plot can be discerned through the dialog but it does so in manner that seems typical to the world. There is very little in the way of dialog in Dark Engine but when used always it always has an air of importance to it. There is a sense of scale and wonder to the world created both by Burton’s writing and Biven’s art. Little is known to the reader but what is presented is sincere and ultimately utterly engaging.
The lack of dialog works has weight because Bivens is able to tell much of the story in his art. There is a wonderful sense of progression that moves the eyes through each panel. Biven’s action is kinetic and brutal. There is a great sense of energy released in Bivens art. Pages fill with Bivens’ chaotic conflicts while others depict very tense personal conversations. Bivens strikes a great tone of dark fantasy with his art. The coloring sets a very foreboding mood. The creatures are highlighted with bright colors which plays in contrast to the shaded figures and bleak world full of gory.
Dark Engine has the mood and creativity that Remender or Hickman books often display. Dark Engine sits comfortably with Image contemplates like Pretty Deadly and East of West. Burton’s perfectly placed dialog and Bivens’ dynamic art introduce readers to a world and story that begs to be explored. From the sinister open to its ominous final page, Dark Engine is an enthralling first issue.