If dark, post-apocalyptic sci-fi is your thing, Dark Age is set to blow your socks off. Like Gangs of New York set in the future of Mad Max, this extraordinary graphic novel – first in a trilogy of books – is an orgy of violence and horror.
Dark Age is set in a post-apocalyptic city. Dictatorial pockets of wealth and military survive in a handful of tower blocks. The rest has been left to the poor, who’ve organised themselves into small groups of semi-civilisation – tribal gangs – in the hope that they can scrape together enough food and shelter to survive.
These gangs are be subservient to an over-arching government-sponsored gang, run by a nasty piece of work called the Chief. They obey a set of rules that keeps a semblance of peace over the slums, but it also serves to keep the gangs divided and conquered.
As we join the story Zed, the rebelious leader of one of these gangs is organising an uprising. He’s trying to bring the leaders of other gangs together in an attempt to overthrow the Chief and gain independence for his sector. Getting there involves bursts of ultra-violence alongside extended political machinations, as Zed negotiates, bargains and bullies his plan into fruition. Neither side is innocent of atrocity or dirty tricks. In this world you do what you have to do to survive.
The story is bold and harsh. It’s well plotted and difficult to put down. It uses its dark nature to full effect, portraying the violence in sporadic dashes of shocking bloodshed. The pacing is spot on and,despite the obvious genre tropes, maintains a few interesting surprises.
The art is a perfect match. Written, pencilled, inked and coloured by brothers Nick and Adam Hayes, the attention to detail in every aspect of the book, from the story to the unique design, is simply exquisite. The dark, black shroud that permeates the book is broken only by the harsh light of fire and explosion, or the rich spray of blood from a wounded gang member.
With its strong violent content mixed with politics and meticulous planning, this is custom-made for people who want intelligent sci-fi that doesn’t compromise on anything. A stunning first chapter in what looks set to become a must-have series.
Order direct from the Dark Age website.