As each issue progresses you get to see the world in both the real sense and in Zoey's mind as she often daydreams about driving pencils into people as well as a few more nasty ways of dispersing those who annoy her. The trick with these sequences is that they happen in an instant and you can see where she is coming from even if you think the ideas she is having are way over the top.
The true genius of the narrative however is Alone in the Dark, this is the name of Zoey's radio show and starts to become the emotional crutch she needs to live a normal life. It’s a talk show where people can call in and discuss their problems. The second issue is devoted to one of these calls and is probably one of the best issues I have read in the past year. The plot plays out at a brilliant pace and the twists and turns are secondary to the questions you have over Zoey's motives. I will not give the game away but if you do not pick up the trade I would very much suggest you get your hands on a copy of the second issue as it is a brilliant piece of storytelling.
Now we get to the creator Larime Taylor he is both the artist and writer on the series which takes a special kind of talent to begin with, he also draws with his mouth. This is due to him being born with Arthrogryposis, the skill he has with a pen is nonetheless unique and shows how effective adaptive biomechanics can really be. Taylor is a great talent and could easily be effective in either side of the comic creation process but thankfully A Voice in the Dark shows both sides of his creative mastery.
When you consider you are getting seven issues in this volume it should be value enough but at the end of the trade you also get an insight into Taylor's creative process. It highlights among other things the changes of the character designs that have occurred throughout the creative process. I enjoy these insights in trades and this is certainly a worthy substitute for the lack of a letters section that you often get in single issues.
A Voice in the Dark is a great series and we'll worth your time and money. It explores difficult themes and shows what diverse a medium comics really are. If you have not yet entered this series then this is a great place to start.
When it comes to any artistic expression I try to put stock in the creation rather than the creator. There will be times you can look at a body of work and love all of it, but there is a rare occurrence especially when creators are producing a large volume of different works. This is especially true in comics as creators often do work for hire as well as their own projects.
A Voice in the Dark is a creator owned project and it immediately caught my attention when it was first solicited. The premise of a young girl dealing with the difficulties of life is a story that has been created plenty of times, but when you throw in her passion for murder, things started to get rather interesting. As is my nature though I did no research on the creator Larimie Taylor until after I had read the first issue.
When you first look at the internal pages you get to see black and white panels that at first seem rather simplistic. There are generally very few detailed backgrounds and the central figure of the panel tends to dominate the imagery. If you take your time though the detail begins to draw you into the narrative in a way that some comics are unable to do. The larger characters make it feel more like you are listening into a conversation as when you are talking to someone generally your focus is trained on the person in question not the scenery behind. This conceit is well crafted throughout the series and almost lets you feel like a fly on the wall during the entire goings on in Zoey's world. There are a few title that really make the black and white art style work, the two most prominent in my eyes are The Walking Dead and Stray Bullets. Both are crafted around the art and after a while you do not notice the lack of colour stimuli. After seven issues I would easily say that Taylor has made a world devoid of colour feel vibrant and engrossing.
Story wise this first arc introduces us to Zoey in the middle of one of the biggest trials in a young adults life, the moving away to college (university). For many like our central character this is the first time away from parents and can be a difficult time. In this Zoey tends to handle the change rather well, mostly because of the darker desires permeating through her mind most of the time. Zoey is not a serial killer as the book begins, she has only murdered one person but the question that permeates through this whole arc is well she become one?
Issue Rating 4.5/5
The Comic is available in print from Image comics. Follow this link for more details.
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Images courtesy of Image Comics
Comic - Provided by Publisher
Comic - Provided by Publisher