Review: A Dark Interlude (Vault Comics)

Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Vladamir Popov
Letterer: Andworld Design
On Sale: 18/11/2020

An incredibly well constructed and articulated story in a world of fantasy and make believe.

PLOT AND STORY 

This is not a sequel as the book breaks the fourth wall to tell us but I can’t help but feel readers need to know at least the premise to the original story Fearscape to fully grasp just what is going on in A Dark Interlude. So let’s do that:

The Fearscape is a world beyond our own, populated by manifestations of our worst fears. Once per generation, The Muse travels to Earth, discovers our greatest Storyteller, and takes them with her to the Fearscape to battle these fear-creatures on our behalf. All has been well for eons, until The Muse encounters Henry Henry, a plagiarist with delusions of literary grandeur. Mistaking him for our greatest Storyteller, she ushers him into the Fearscape. Doom follows.

A Dark Interlude issue 1 takes the audience on a journey to try and find a new storyteller following Henry Henry’s disgrace.

Ryan O’Sullivan is a very talented writer and has created another story which feels like I have fallen into the mind of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. I loved the blend of fourth wall breaking narration and the internal dialogue between these weird and wonderful character’s. A very Meta story full of euphemisms and some might even say satirical humour. 

I can’t think of the last time I read a first issue that made me think or feel like this. I haven’t stopped thinking about just how well this story was constructed and how much it spoke to my love of fantasy. The only downside to reading this was how inferior it made me feel as a writer myself.

ARTWORK 

I find this a difficult section to talk about because I was so in awe of the words I was reading that the art somehow drifted into the background. However I say this with such admiration and the deepest respect to artist Andrea Mutti and colourist Vladamir Popov. Creating a comic which is so heavily focused on the words and still being able to lift the story through the art is no easy task, yet it’s one Mutti and Popov manage to achieve. Pale colours and bleak landscapes help sell the reader on the importance of location and the situation. 

The moments of this book where the art shines is in the characters. There are some demonic looking creatures who truly demonstrate people’s sense of fear which enhances the impact of the narrative. One character in particular I really enjoyed studying was our hero who has what I can only describe as a flaming lego brick as a head. Completely original and enjoyable.

Andworld Design are quickly becoming the standard in comic book lettering and once again gives the reader everything they need. Clear concise text with differing bubbles for characters and presented in a way which doesn’t restrict the art.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

This book came out of nowhere for me as I hadn’t read the original Fearscape until A Dark Interlude landed in my inbox and now I feel like I missed out. I don’t use the word incredible lightly but it seems the most appropriate right now. This book is incredible. It’s dark, clever, funny and harrowing while all the time being completely engaging. 

I read this via an advance preview issued by Vault comics and received no incentive to review this comic.

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