Dark Light by Chad Kultgen

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IMG_2379I am not sure where I found this one, but knowing that it was from Archaic comics was more than enough to get me interested. When I flipped through the book I saw the solid artwork to what looked like a totally new and awesome space opera. There was no stopping me, I had to have it.

Chad Kultgen is a writer from Spokane, Washington. He is most famous for his novel Men, Women, and Children for its somewhat controversial themes. Chad has also written for a few different movies including The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Bad Judge. Chad has received quite a bit of criticism for his works,  Penthouse has called his work, “appalling,” while Maxim has labelled it, “pure filth.”(Wikipedia) I have not read any of his other works but Men, Women, IMG_2380and Children is on my list. He certainly seems to have touched a nerve with his work, but there is no such thing as bad publicity. He has also used some somewhat “non-traditional” marketing campaigns or techniques (which I think are pure genius) to get people talking about his books. One thing is certain, it definitely worked.

This story takes place in the very far future, so far in fact the universe itself is coming to an end. There are three races that are alive during this time and basically all three hate each other, and are on the brink of war. For the moment they have seemingly put aside their differences to try and save the universe as their lives depend on it. Each race contributes one piece of technology that IMG_2381when combined will help save the universe by creating a brand new star. While trying to combine the three pieces to create the new star, something goes wrong and immediately tensions peak and the three species begin to attack each other. From there the story follows a human ship captained by a man named Rhodes along with his unusual crew as they try and save a dying universe while war rages around them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I didn’t know what to expect other than the cover sucked me in and the story was somehow involved with science fiction. I really liked the story overall in this one, there are some really cool ideas that are presented. I love the idea of the universe ending and have written about the idea and science behind it in quite a few different Random IMG_2382Thoughts posts. I think that is such a fascinating idea and the fact that there is a cool story to go along with that is pretty awesome. This is definitely one of the first times I have seen this idea explored in a graphic novel medium, something that I would certainly like to see more of.

While I was reading the story I started to get the feeling that the ending was going to be very predictable. I had my mind made up as to how it was going to end and was quite certain of my assessment. However, as I got closer and closer to the end I was shocked by somewhat of a twist that took place. I really did not see the ending coming. I thought it was just going to be a very neat but simple story, yet the ending really opened up a whole other can of worms. Again I have not seen this idea explored much if any in the graphic novel medium. So IMG_2383this story just so happened to incorporate two ideas that I love to speculate about, pretty awesom. There are very few comics out there that incorporate this sort of science fiction in them, to me that is what made it so cool.

If you take the graphic novel out of this story, I think this would have made a great sifi novel. In some weird way I kind of wish this book was longer, where the reader could explore this universe to a greater extent. I really wanted to see more of this universe and see more of the different races that inhabit it. The story has all the elements to make a great novel. What is also interesting is that there is plenty to go on to put together an awesome sequel. There are really some many different elements at play here.

As for the writer, this is his first stab at the science fiction, that I am aware of, and a graphic novel as well. Chad is most known for his novels which have touched a chord on a few different levels. I would be very interested to hear why Chad seemed to do a complete 180 when it comesIMG_2384 to his writing style and genre. I find it interesting that he not only took on a completely different genre, and nailed it, but he also took on a complete different medium. When you look at both of these aspects you have to give some credit to Chad for his work and how the book turned out. As an established writer I would imagine it is very difficult to switch mediums like that as well as tackling a different genre. Major props to Chad for this.

I liked the artwork in this one. It is mostly traditional, what you would expect to see when you open a comic book. To me the artwork did have this futuristic-y (I know that is not a word) feel to it. The artwork was very clean and crisp, and that seemed to grasp the technological feel of the story. Sometimes artwork is gritty and gives the reader a sense that the world portrayed is dirty and a mess, well the exact opposite is true here. The crispness of the artwork gives the tone of IMG_2386the technological advancement, purity, and cleanness of the world the story takes place in. I imagine that there is no dust or dirt anywhere on board Rhodes ship. Along these lines the colors in the book also do the same, there is a lot of grays, but there are also some very deep and rich colors that are thrown around when showing new alien worlds. This wide range of colors makes for some very cool visuals. The page layouts are somewhat above average. There are some really cool full page splashes where you get to see new worlds and some spectacular space scenes that really make your imagination run wild. These are very well done, and they always made me stop and take a moment to admire them before I continued on. Overall the artwork is very solid.

At the end there are a few pages of extra artwork. Most show the main characters as well as some of the other creatures in the story. I alwasy enjoy seeing these sketches and character creations from the artists. To me it gives the reader some insight of how characters change from the original sketches to what makes the final cut. IMG_2387

I really liked this book if you cannot tell. The story is awesome on so many different levels. If you are a sifi fan you will love this book just for the straight science fiction that is introduced. The talk of alternate universes, the universe ending, a super technology to build a star, and alien races in the far future is right up my alley. If you have not checked this one out you should take some time and read it, you will not be disappointed.

Manik

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