Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: DUSK Chapter 1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

CREATORS: Brandon Gary and Jason Bienvenu
STORY: Brandon Gary
LAYOUTS: Brandon Gary
ART: Jason Bienvenu
COLORS: Jason Bienvenu
LETTERS: Brandon Gary
LOGO: Jason Bienvenu
32pp, Color, $5.00 U.S. (June 2015)

Dusk is a comic book series created by writer Brandon Gary and artist Jason Bienvenu.  A science fiction series, Dusk is set in the distant future and finds humanity engaged in interstellar space travel and colonization.  The narrative takes place on the newly colonized world of Lunaris Seven, an unusual planet that does not rotate or orbit the sun, thus having one side that is permanently dark and the other permanently light.

Dusk Chapter 1 opens as a teenage girl, Kaitlyn, arrives in Dusk, a city that is built on the edge of Lunaris Seven's light and dark.  She has arrived to live with her older sister, Christina, and the reunion goes well in light of a recent family tragedy.

Meanwhile, Detective Eddie Hizaki and Detective Neil Weathers of the Lunaris Seven Police Department (L7PD) are investigating a series of a child disappearances.  Hizaki and Weathers' partnership is an uneasy one, as each detective disagrees with the other about the fate of the children.  Circumstances bring these four people together, as they discover the reach of the criminal element living in the shadows of Dusk.

I am a little familiar with the work of Jason Bienvenu, who wrote and drew the six-issue comic book miniseries, The Kingdom, which was published by Comix Tribe.  [I reviewed the first issue for the website @ComicBookBin.]  During the recent Louisiana Comic Con in Lafayette, Louisiana (October 17-18, 2015), I discovered that Bienvenu and writer Brandon Gray had a table in the vendor's gallery, where they were promoting their comic book projects.  Wanting to support local comics creators, I decided to sample Dusk because it was a collaborative project by the two.  Plus, I was attracted to striking image and vivid coloring on the cover of Dusk Chapter 1.

First, I want to say that Bienvenu has improved as an artist since The Kingdom.  His compositions are stronger, and his figure drawing expresses emotion and mood, which is good for the story.  Working from Gray's layouts, Bienvenu uses graphic design and color to create an eye-catching storytelling package that makes me want to read this comic book.

I like the manner in which Gray uses science fiction as a basic template by which he plays out the dramas of characters seemingly from different genres:  Kaitlyn and Christina (family melodrama) and Hizaki and Weathers (cop drama).  This keeps the story from being trapped in the tropes of one particular genre or sub-genre, but that method especially emphasizes the sense of the unknown in this narrative.  Discovering and unraveling secrets is what makes the reader at least consider coming back for the second chapter or next installment.  And I am quite interested returning to the intriguing Dusk.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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