Darkest Night Act Two: Death (2013)

Sex :
Violence :
Editors Chris Charlton, Matt Currey Reviewer :
Publisher Siberian Productions
Writers Hayden Fryer
Art and Colours Hayden Fryer
Cover Hayden Fryer
Genre Drama
Tagline a tale of love, death & revenge!


"Come on man hangover'll be bad enough. Don't want hyperthermia as well" - Patrick

It's the day of Caleb's parents' funeral and the dude is naturally not taking their deaths well. He manages to get through the service but starts hitting the booze heavily at the wake. Everyone is supportive, including best friend Patrick who tries to steer Caleb away from the hard stuff, but fails when it comes to the brews. I must admit to expecting the worse here. Former girlfriend Carlie and her new boyfriend Grant arrive to pay their respects and Carlie surprisingly offers support, after rejecting Caleb's advances in the previous book.

Following the funeral Caleb appears to be getting his stuff sorted out gradually. He's still suffering but has gone back to what sounds like a high pressure job, is trying to reconnect with his Bros - Friday drinks, and looks to be coming out of the dark tunnel. Is there light at the end there or is Caleb developing some deep psychosis that will burst like a gibbering wreck through the final comic in the trilogy?

The book is definitely the midpoint of a trilogy as it builds on what has gone before with an eye toward the final edition. So don't go into this comic expecting a defined kicking off point, stand alone story, and anything approaching a resolution to the conflicts being carefully constructed. For those who have rocked out to the previous book all things make sense, so if you haven't read that one then you have some remedial requirements ahead of you before heading into this journey into darkness.

For anyone expecting massive amounts of blood and gore, the normal subject matter this site seems to be awash with, you are going to be sadly disappointed. Gorehounds need not apply for admittance here. But if you are after a drama that focuses on reactions to a tragedy then you are in the right place as the book spends its entire time exploring various characters and their reactions to the death of Caleb's parents. Caleb's grieving process, that doesn't have any ray of sunshine at all, is going to make tough reading for your average dark genre reader but should surprisingly work for more of a mainstream audience. So yes you are on a journey into the drama of those impacted by the funeral, and I have to say toys with that sort of false sincerity people have to put on like Dexter as society expects it of them at a funeral service and wake.

Since "murder" is likely to be the subtitle of the last book in the trilogy it's important to focus on what drives someone toward a dark place, though of course Hayden Fryer might spring a few surprises as the conclusion rushes towards us. Caleb is looking like he is on the descent in typical horror fashion, we all go a little crazy sometimes, so we're kind of by the time this book finishes wondering what will be the final spark that ignites madness.

The art work Hayden Fryer sends our way is interesting in a sort of externalisation of internal conflicts way. Almost every panel in the book has this sort of over exposed look, almost like an instant photo where the light is on the verge of overwhelming the photograph. This is an important approach as in nearly every panel featuring Caleb there is a darkness almost surgically attached to the character, hence the externalisation of the old black dog. It's almost a pictorial representation of the forces of chaos scratching out of the pit one claw at a time. The book is worth a purchase on the artwork approach on its own, pretty damn unique, which isn't something you can normally say about comics circling the dark genre.

For those who need more mundane analysis, something I'm a past master at yo, the panels are clear, the artwork is crisp, making the book an easy read. Helps that the plot is rocking along without taking time out to count the number of angels dancing on the head of pins, this is a serious book getting where it's going without sidetracking. The comic is serious, there is no humour involved, hope you have locked your bathroom medicine cabinet.

So I at least had a good time with Darkest Night Act Two: Death as Hayden Fryer moved his story arc into a darker place, though is there the hint of light at the end of the tunnel? While the book fits more into that middle year of a three year degree territory it still keeps pounding away to what promises to be a fairly explosive final instalment. I'm recommending this comic but with the proviso that you need to have read the first book in the trilogy before tackling this one. Comics can be pretty serious when the whip comes down, Hayden Fryer wields that whip like some maniac plantation owner from a few centuries back, and I got to say the book is all the better for that.

Now I've got some good news and some bad news folks. The good news is that you can order the book online, along with the first instalment, for a very reasonable $8 per edition. Oops almost forgot to add the web address, Siberian Productions yeah. Now the bad news is each print run is limited to only 50 copies, so I wouldn't let the grass grow folks, hit that perfect beat folks and go grab a copy today.

ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...

  A comic that pushes the boundary, you are not going to want to miss this one.