Review: Complete Darkness #1+2 by Matt Adcock
Are you looking for a comic with a mix of sci-fi and dystopian fiction with some incredible black-and-white art? A comic that poses that hell is real and is accidentally discovered to be all around us? Complete Darkness, by Matt Adcock and Karl Brown, might just be what you're after.
The Complete Darkness comic comes from Matt Adcock's very well-received and praised novel of the same name. Set in London 2, in the year 2242, scientists succeed in mapping dark matter. However, to their horror, they discover that it is actually the 'Hell'. This discovery unleashes chaos as the devil seeks to destroy humanity, but instead, he accidentally grants superpowers to a lone individual who may be humanity's only hope for salvation.
Let's start with the art by Karl Brown. Anyone who knows my comic tastes knows I'm an absolute sucker for black-and-white art. When done well, it is just fantastic to look at. I've seen Karl's work previously with An Android Awakes, and I loved his art style then. I still love it now. The art has a lovely old-school style with some stunning details. There are numerous panels where you can spend your time appreciating how good some things look - faces, in particular, at times look phenomenal.
Talking of looking phenomenal, since I've set myself up for this - the warrior demon Razour actually made me say, "oh damn," at the end of issue one because, well... if you unleashed that upon the world, you know you're in some serious trouble. Anyone coming at you with that mask, you'd be torn between wanting to admire the details despite knowing full well that you're about to be literally torn apart or running like hell to get out of there.
Issue two continues with the fantastic art but adds a little something something to make it slightly different - a few dabs of colour. Advertising boards, security alerts, a character's mood stamped near their head. Nice little touches of colour that don't detract too much from the brilliant linework. There's also a double-page full-colour spread in the centre. It looks good, but I definitely prefer the style for the rest of the comic. But at the same time, would I complain if there's a full-colour centre spread in all the issues going forward? Absolutely not.
As for the story, Matt Adcock has taken up the task of converting his novel into a comic, which is quite a task. And what we get with issues one and two are two different comics that make you wonder whether you might have missed something in between. But there's a reason for that!
Issue one follows the prologue of the novel. It's a setting-of-the-scenes kind of deal. This issue introduces us to the hesitant protagonist, Cleric20, and his robotic companion, GiX. We witness the occurrence of the Starlight Bounce, a cosmic event that allows past events to be relived in the present time. One of these events alters our understanding of history, as well as the fundamental concepts of God and religion. For setting the scene of what's to come, it's a good, gory introduction to the Complete Darkness world.
Things become a bit different with issue two, which is based on the novel's first chapters. It's more the story's start. Think of it as issue one of the series, and issue one is actually issue zero. It depicts battlemages and killer robots attacking a research facility. Razour attempts to conceal the violent incident, but it only hastens the impending carnage - and there's plenty of carnage. Without knowing what's coming, this issue sets up impending doom in a way where you know that shit isn't just hitting the fan; it's spinning fast and flinging wide.
With this series, you have the opportunity to embark on an extraordinary science fiction adventure that will leave you in awe. You get to immerse yourself in a world of great characters, wild ideas, and breathtaking artwork, and all with a little touch of humour to keep you engaged. If you're a sci-fi fan who loves great art, then Complete Darkness is a series you want to check out. Issue one is available through the Complete Darkness Etsy store, and I'm sure issue two will be on there soon enough. If you can't wait, though, you could always check out the novel.
I've enjoyed this enough that I've gone and bought the novel so I can soak in more of this. I get the feeling it'll make me appreciate the story in comic form even more so that I'm fully prepared for issue three.
Rating: 4.5 - but I should note that if this continues, it's easily going to be a 5-star series!