The Twilight Age Issue 2: Damnation (2009)

Editor Baden Kirgan
Publisher Black House Comics
Writer J. Scherpenhuizen
Art and Colours J. Scherpenhuizen
Genre Apocalypse

Talk us through it

FBI Agent Justin Barnett, with a welcome assist from his partner Wally, finally takes down the serial killer nicknamed "Dracula", but is left with an issue about what to do with his prisoner. The local FBI office has shut down leaving a long journey to Atlanta. Society continues to crumble around Barnett with the disease and other cataclysms throwing things squarely into chaos central.

Having time on their hands, guess end of the world road trips give you that, Dracula gives Barnett a run down on Lovecraft's "old ones" and the societies who have battled over their resurrection down the ages. Clearly the battle lines are being drawn.

Stopping to help a woman in distress at a roadhouse, Barnett becomes involved in a major bar brawl. Our FBI Agent having let his guard down gives the opportunity to Dracula to escape into the twilight, Dracula having of course upped his body count. With nothing else to do Barnett decides to head home to Philadelphia.


"A wolf is a wolf. Even if it fights on the side of the Angels" - Dracula

Clearly Twilight Age is going to follow a chronological order of events as the countdown continues to Armageddon in Issue Two. The second instalment in this excellent story follows immediately after events in the first issue with Agent Barnett coming face to face with the mythical "Dracula" who appears to have superhuman powers, no doubt due to ancient mystic rites and his consumption of human blood. I'm up for the continuing adventure of the last FBI agent and it should be interesting, as society continues to deteriorate under the pressures being brought to bare, to see how writer Scherpenhuizen continues the development of his two central characters. Clearly we are already seeing the Avatar of light and order versus the Agent of darkness and chaos. Excellent stuff, the ruins of society are the battleground for what could be a titanic struggle.

Scherpenhuizen takes time out of his busy schedule in Issue Two to flesh out the antagonist (Dracula), and I for one was appreciating the background details, and let's face facts, what could be some pretty cool plot developments as the story advances. We already knew that Dracula was one sick mofo and there were some hints in the first issue that a cosmic reason for the plunge into darkness might just be on the cards. Scherpenhuizen, in Issue Two, gives full reign to the Cluthu mythos and I for one am chomping at the bit to see where that might lead. Seems "Dracula" follows a long line of individuals out to wake the old gods from their eons long slumber. Generally I just poked them with a stick, but hey if blood sacrifice works for you! Actually guess that explains the octopi on the front cover as well, was wondering about that. In a nice touch Scherpenhuizen goes with a Lovecraft look for his elder gods, although I don't think Lovecraft ever actually described them. Anyway, and let's not bicker here, I was getting a real At The Mountains of Madness feel to things that I appreciated. Where the Author goes with this angle is one of the things that are going to keep me reading the comics.

Guess we already had a fairly solid introduction to Justin Barnett; FBI Agent, dedicated to the task at hand, and prepared to take the hard decisions to get the job down. He's immune to the virus that is currently ravaging society, and is prepared to sidetrack in order to right wrongs and defend the weak. Whether or not Barnett has decided to throw in the towel and head home is another one of those things we'll be finding out in future episodes. For sure Dracula isn't going to allow a descent into a new dark age to stop his activities, will Agent Barnett be there to battle the forces of evil as the light of polite society gradual dims?

Scherpenhuizen hasn't as yet bothered with developing any minor characters that could bridge Issues or come into play later in the story. I'm not entirely sure if the Writer is at this stage simply going to postulate the ongoing battle between the dark hats of evil and the white hats of goodness, or if he might throw some grey hat characters into the ring to see what could develop. Dracula is clearly not interested in gaining any disciples to his cause and Barnett hasn't really had time to sit back and take stock of the situation. It's intriguing to image where Scherpenhuizen might take things from here, but I kind of think he will need to develop some minor characters if the Twilight Age comic series is being envisaged on the epic scale of the page count. I'll keep an eye on future Issues and keep you up to date with this side of the puzzle.

One final word on the plot and we'll move onto the visual wonders that Issue two has in store for you. A fellow voyager through the dark genre waters had a look at the comic, cool people are being influenced here, and wondered why there was a general lack of social commentary in the book. The thought being, you have the end of the world, shouldn't Scherpenhuizen be making a grand statement about the human condition? I personally don't believe the Writer/Artist is in that mindset and further I'd argue that not all horror, and in fact only a small minority of it, should bother exploring the meaning of life. Once you start contemplating your naval the Wine and Cheese set will be all over you like a rash and suddenly you'll be writing stuff with deep social meaning that no one is going to bother reading. Scherpenhuizen is hitting us with a cool concept that holds bloody well on the story front and I for one am not that concerned about how many old ones can slouch on the head of a pin. In horror, story is everything, our resident Author is all over that concept.

Issue Two of The Twilight Age is in full glorious colour and there's been a lot of attention given to the individual frames. From the front page through the, I'm going to say three acts, that make up the plot, to the final page it's looking well above average on the art side of the publishing meeting. I quite happily read the Issue a couple of times and then spent time flicking through the comic looking at the art. It's pretty intensive and Scherpenhuizen shows an eye for the panel as atmosphere, check the colours in use and how they relate to each scene construction. There's a high standard being maintained here and you get the feeling that at some stage our Artist is really going to let loose and throw off the standard comic book structure.

I was particularly impressed with the panels displaying the situation going up in flames. It's almost as if Scherpenhuizen draw up the art, fired up Photoshop, and went buck naked wild with the effects pallet. Excellent stuff and the reflection of the fires in Dracula's glasses just prior to the middle of the comic were pretty high on my approval list.

Summary Execution ...

The Twilight Age Issue Two continues the fine form of the first Issue and no doubt won some more now committed fans to Scherpenhuizen's story. We're well on our way with the foundations laid and I simply can't wait to see what the Writer/Artist has in store for us from here. We surely do have some very solid comic book people publishing at the moment, J. Scherpenhuizen would be leading that charge. I'm in hog heaven with this series.

As usual you can source your copy of The Twilight Age online from Black House's store. Just point your browser at Black House and follow the easy to find links to comic nirvana. While there check out some of the other releases, you aren't going to bust the bank so go wild and get a few things to take advantage of the excellent postal rates.

Full recommendation, do yourself a favour and go hunt out the comic, there's not much more that I can add really. Your homework has been assigned; there will be a spot quiz next week.

ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...

  Fully sick to the max Brah, loose translation, an excellent comic that you really must read.