Graphic Novel Review: The Dark - by Chris Lynch & Rick Lundeen


The Dark is a graphic novel from AAM Markosia, which is written by Chris Lynch, with artwork, colouring, and lettering by Rick Lundeen.

I have previously reviewed the first chapter of the book, which was released online last year, but now I plan to review the full graphic novel.

To see my interviewing with The Dark creators Chris Lynch & Rick Lundeen, as well as Harry Markos of AAM Maroksia publishing, please click here.


The Story

picture-7 The Dark is the story of Daniel Abbot, a brilliant young scientist on the fringes of the establishment and the creator of Memetech – a technology that encodes information and memories into a liquid form, allowing anyone to “drink” the information. Terrified that his invention will be used for military purposes he decides to destroy his research, but not before he takes one last trip … with disastrous results.

Two years on, and the Memetech genie is out of the bottle. Abbot, having perfected his own version of the technology, fights a one-man war against the spread of his own invention and the collapse of our information culture in the guise of “The Dark”. Aided by an artificial intelligence nicknamed Howard Hughes, Abbott creates “The Baffler” – a coat made of Memetech that gives his the edge over his enemies. Capable of injecting information directly into this brain and firing Memetech flechettes to hit others with bursts of pure information, The Baffler is both weapon and disguise in Daniel Abbot’s war against his own creation.

picture-8 When The Dark uncovers a plot to set off Memetech bombs across the whole of the city Dante, filling the air with liquid information and creating a new society of his enemy’s devising, The Dark is plunged into a desperate race against time. But, not everything is what is seems. Who is the new and mysterious enemy who seems to know The Dark’s every move? How did the Memetech, thought destroyed, reappear? Why can’t Daniel wake his wife and son? And why is everyone in Dante named after an English poet?

I have remained purposefully vague in the above summary, in an attempt to remain spoiler free. For a more detailed summary of the first chapter of the book, please refer to my previous review.

The Rating

picture-10 The Dark is a very high-concept and multi-layered story. On the surface it would appear to be a superhero/vigilante story about a man who has created a new type of technology, which has fallen into the wrong hands. Now he works to wrest his technology back from those who would use it for evil, while at the same time trying to find a way to bring his wife and child out of a Memetech induced coma. However, about half way through the book,  something happens that changes the story completely, and makes you rethink everything that you’ve read thus far. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, so I won’t say what this event is, but it’s an incredibly clever twist that will literally make you slap yourself on the forehead! Bravo to Chris Lynch for some incredibly clever plotting. Stuff like this is hard to pull of, and he’s really done it with gusto!

An aspect of The Dark that I found incredibly engaging is the idea that information can be condensed down into its purest form (as Memetech) and then be absorbed physically. In principle such technology could change the world in rather fundamental ways. Imagine, for instance, that a Doctor performing intricate surgery could take a shot of Memetech that picture-2_3 contained the knowledge of of the world’s greatest surgeons, along with perfect nerve reflexes. The amount of successful surgical operations would reach unprecedented levels. Chis Lynch takes this idea to its logical conclusion, which is that with information so easily available, it devalues traditional learning, and the power offered by Memetech usage becomes open to abuse. The idea of people getting high on information, and indeed overdosing on data, is incredibly interesting, and there is definitely a metaphor in there somewhere. The idea of Memetech, and Abbot’s other toys such as ‘The Baffler’ are obviously comic book science, but they are comic book science of the highest order, and Chris Lynch has clearly put a lot of thought into the technology used by The Dark.

picture-13 Not only has Chris Lynch created an incredibly interesting concept to use as the basis of this story, but he’s also created an incredibly unique plot. Even without the aforementioned twist, The Dark would have been a brilliant piece of work, but I really like the fact that you can read the story, finish it, then go back to read it again in a whole new light. It’s almost like the first time I read Fight Club… well, I won’t ruin the ending of that either. Aside from the plot, the story also has some great dialogue, and some wonderful character work. The book doesn’t have a huge cast of characters, so it’s vitally important for the story to have a strong protagonist, and the character of Daniel Abbot is definitely a believable, three dimensioanl character, with which the read can empathize.

picture-3_3 Rick Lundeen‘s linework on this story has a very clean and smooth look to it, which is complimented by some really vibrant colouring. Why I mention the colouring so prominently is because the Memetech chemical is seen often throughout the story, and it always stands out of the page due to its aqua-marine colour, which almost seems to glow. As Memetech is such an important and vital part of the plot, I find it appropriate that it should also be such an important aspect of the artwork. Rick Lundeen also does some fantastic design work on this book, because he’s had to create the look of so much new technology, like all the various Memetech devices in the plot, The Baffler (The Dark’s tech suit), and a ton of other stuff that I don’t want to reveal in case it spoils the story. He’s definitely got a great style, which really suits the tone of the story.

Something else I should mention is that there is a secret message hidden throughout the book, both in the dialogue and in the artwork. Chris Lynch claims that , “From the symbol on The Dark’s chest to adverts in the background, everything is there for a reason.” - so you can also have a heck of a fun time trying to puzzle that one out!

The Dark is a highly original and inventive graphic novel, with an intriguing and involving plot that really keeps readers on their toes. It’s a book that you’re going to want to read at least twice, trust me! Forty-Five was my early pick for graphic novel of the year, but it looks like it’s already got some tough competition in the form of The Dark!

Rating: (4.75 of 5)

Related posts:

  1. Illuminating The Dark: Talking to Chris Lynch, Rick Lundeen, and Harry Markos About AAM Markosia’s Latest Graphic Novel
  2. Comic Review: The Dark #1
  3. Markosia Celebrates the Launch of The Dark with a Prize Draw For Twitter Followers
  4. Graphic Novel Review: Andi Ewington’s [Forty Five] 45
  5. AAM Markosia’s The Dark and Freeman of the Armed Services hit the Shelves in March


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  1. [...] Kaye followed up his review of Issue #1 of The Dark by giving us his take on the whole story … Not only has Chris Lynch created an incredibly interesting concept to use as the basis of this [...]

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