Dark Ark #5 Review: How We Look in the Eyes of the Divine
The Angels of God have arrived on Shrae's Dark Ark. What is feared to be divine judgement is quickly revealed to be nothing more than a cosmic mistake. The angelic host mistook Shrae for Noah. The latter prayed for God's help, and the angels went to Shrae thinking he was Noah. Shrae must send these beings away before they discover who Shrae is and what is held within his boat.
After Nex's attempted uprising, this issue of Dark Ark serves to remind us of Shrae's position in all of this. He is defying the will of God for the sake of monsters. Should the Divine One discover what the sorcerer is doing, he, his family, and his host of beasts will be destroyed. He has a hold full of people intended to serve as food for the monsters, and he is doing all of this at the bidding of the Devil himself.
At the same time, this flood was intended to wipe out humanity. God and his angels saw it fit to exterminate the sinners from the world, and Shrae is defying this apocalypse. The angels see humans as so insignificant that they mistook Shrae for Noah, possibly leaving Noah to die. Even though Shrae is keeping a hold of human cattle, they would otherwise have drowned were it not for Shrae.
There is no ultimate hero or righteous cause here. There are cosmic forces using people like Noah, Shrae, and their families as pawns in a vague moralistic game.
It's a compelling read, and Cullen Bunn once more proves himself adept at playing with established religion, legends, and eldritch forces to construct an enthralling read.
There is a point that hits the nail a little to finely on the head when on of Shrae's prisoners refers to the angels as monsters too. It's a small moment, but it makes it feel like Dark Ark didn't expect you to get the point already.
Juan Doe's art and coloring brings this dark, dreary, and unforgiving world to life. While it does look good, it still feels a little more cartoony than seems fitting for a story like Dark Ark. That being said, the colorwork is phenomenal, and it maintains this fantastically foreboding atmosphere with dark pigments and shades.
Dark Ark #5 closes out the first volume of the story with a divine warning of the tightrope Shrae walks. He took a sinister lifeline that could be cut should the forces of Heaven ever discover his actions, and he is no saint for taking that line in the beginning. It's an absorbing tale and one that earns a recommendation. Give it a read.