Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 is a one-shot tie-in by DC Comics, written by Mark Waid, Delilah S. Dawson, and Dennis Culver, art by Freddie E. Williams II and Jack Herbert, colours by Adriano Lucas, and letters by Troy Peteri. Damian Wayne steps away from the huge battle with a bare-bones crew to investigate the trail of the Dark Army on other worlds
As a story, the writers waste little time in throwing the group together and sending them on the adventure. It brilliantly places them in context for the main body of the comic then tails off from it. The book is transported to another world already ravaged by the Dark Army. The pace slows down in this part of the comic, taking a lot of time to transport between locations. Then the set-pieces themselves and battles aren’t very exciting. Getting glimpses of what the broken worlds used to offer some enjoyment.
The second half of the issue is much more important to the wider story at large. It brings back a team that may have been forgotten in the chaos of Dark Crisis, before applying a way for the heroes to be able to defeat the extremely powerful army. It is definitely the best battle and perhaps the greatest moment of the comic. A clever idea is used to oppose the shadows, but the ending wasn’t completely satisfying.
The characters that were gathered together to form this team are all fascinating in their own right, but I don’t think they were used to their full potential. Sideways, Power Girl, Doctor Light, and newcomer Red Canary initially seemed like a good group of lesser-known heroes, led by someone who actively makes people uncomfortable. The dialogue between the team is awkward. Robin’s abrasiveness is very funny, but the retorts can sometimes be repetitive. Damian also made decisions based on how they can help him, but many of the characters don’t have a defining action in Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1. Perhaps the title itself is slightly misleading, as it creates a suggestion that those key figures in Pariah’s legion of huge villains would play more of a role. However, I absolutely want more of Red Canary.
The art is energetic and fantastic. In the battles, there is a lot happening. The opening is superb at ramping that early momentum up, with that final battle being portrayed by a different artist, showing other individuals getting involved. The comic then calms down in a dark subway that allows for the designs of the characters to shine. The artists are all similar in theory styles and their costumes are brilliant. However, there is a period in the middle of the book where Damian is altered. He is presented as taller, actually resembling some of the other Robins instead of his more distinctive traits.
Which has its own merits, but part of the captions at the start of the comic mention his height. His diminutive stature is part of his iconic look, so it is odd to see him presented as bigger. This reverts when Culver draws the last pages. The art in the action scenes show a lot of space, often using double pages to make lively fights. The locations are incredible displays, all devastated by the Dark Army. One, in particular, is jaw-dropping in how in-depth it is.
The colours are also amazing. There is a brilliant specificity to the shades, especially in the gigantic panels full of minuscule details. In that opening fight, the sheer amount of colours and powers being unleashed is mind-blowing. The lettering has no issues at all and is always easy to read.
Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 is a one-shot that struggles. From the beginning, it looked like an energetic and entertaining comic, and it absolutely has periods where it is. The character choices weren’t wrong, but I don’t think they all had the impact that they could have. Many going missing or are just not laced into the structure of the comic well enough. Maybe the multiple writers and artists created inconsistency within the issue, which would explain many of the issues I had with the comic.
Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 is available where comics are sold.
Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1
Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 is a one-shot that struggles. From the beginning, it looked like an energetic and entertaining comic, and it absolutely has periods where it is. The character choices weren’t wrong, but I don’t think they all had the impact that they could have.