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October 2, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Dark Horses’ Dark Matter Vol. 1: Rebirth

You wake up out of a deep space coma. You have no memory of who you are, where you are, and what you’re supposed to do. Slowly you realize that you’re not alone on a mysterious ship. Your instincts and skills remain intact, but your memory is gone. Writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, both of Stargate fame, bring you Dark Matter.

 

Dark Matter Volume 1 : Rebirth

Writers: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Artist: Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release: Oct. 3, 2012

Canadian writer and producer Joseph Mallozzi has teamed with Paul Mullie to create Dark Matter. Both have a long list of television writing and producing credentials, and Dark Matter is their first attempt at a comic book. Pretty damn good first attempt, too. Dark Matter is a science fiction series, with hints of Firefly, Stargate, and The Dirty Dozen. While there is plenty of action, the story revolves around the mystery group of characters, and this is what really drives the story forward.

It is pretty clear that Mallozzi and Mullie have plenty of experience when it comes to crafting a complete story. “Dark Matter: Rebirth” has all of the elements of a good story that leaves a reader feeling fulfilled but excited in the end. A great introductory tale, “Rebirth” jumps us right into the thick of things. Six people aboard a ship, all with no memory of who they are. As the story progresses, it becomes pretty clear that each of these people has a certain skill set, as well as all having something in common. The six crew members quickly become embroiled in a corporate war, and are forced to choose sides. While the current conflict is being decided over by the six crew members, other mysteries and stories are slowly unraveling. Where do these six people come from and what are their stories? Who is the mystery man that is after them? What’s the deal with the strange kid? Can the crew trust the robot? These are just a few of the questions raised.

Mallozzi and Mullie pull no punches with this tale. They go right for what readers like. They have put together a great crew, each with their own unique personalities. There is enough mystery and intrigue to keep readers coming back, but just enough questions are answered to satisfy, as well. The way Mallozzi and Mullie were able to tell one story while building up others is also a pretty clutch ability, and no easy feat. The action is pretty intense, and fairly unpredictable. At some points it seemed as though one person was going to die, but instead someone else gets their hand chopped off. While the main cast may seem like heroes, it becomes pretty apparent that they also all have a pretty dark past. The questions about who the crew exactly are is probably the most exciting aspect of the series, and the way Mallozzi and Mullie have set it up, it seems like it will be pretty damn interesting.  The only gripe for this story is about the flow at some points. At times it feels like the reader is just supposed to put the pieces together on their own. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it almost felt like there was a page or panel missing at some points.

Artist Garry Brown produces some really intense covers to go along with the quick and intense story, as well as some really gritty interiors. The covers give an indication of what is to come inside, as well as a look at some of the characters found throughout the stories. They strongly use reds, oranges, and blues, which gives the sci-fi space feel, as well as action and explosions. Truly fitting covers. When it comes to the interior work, readers have to give the art a chance to develop. Brown’s work has a really gritty feel to it, heavy on the black and inks in some panels. The characters are easily identifiable, each with their own trademark look. Even though they all wear similar armor and uniforms, it is easy to tell them apart. That being said, two characters’ genders weren’t very clear until they were referred to as “he” or “she.” I know, this sounds kind of silly, but it was truly hard to tell their gender until it was specified, which was kind of annoying. The colors used for the environments are also really well done, with good choices used for the interior of the ship, space, and planet side. As the story starts to unfold, Brown’s work starts to clear up in terms of detail and blacks. It was almost as if Brown chose to clear up the work as the memories and minds of the crew started to clear as well. This technique really enhanced the whole reading experience.

It looks as though Dark Matter is going to be around for the long haul, and this new fan has no complaints about that. Volume 1 was a great introductory story. It clearly introduces the premise of the series, and provides a fun and engaging cast of characters. The story is fast-paced, but addresses both the need for action and character development. Artist Garry Brown knows exactly how to address the tale with his gritty but action-packed artistic style. Mallozzi and Mullie have a clear vision for where they want to take this story, but that doesn’t mean that the story is obvious or predictable. Minor stories were completed, while bigger, more major plot lines are just beginning. Dark Matter: Rebirth is easily recommendable for fans of science fiction, drama, and action.

Mike Parente
mike@comicattack.net

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