Dark Beach is to sci-fi as Criminal is to crime noir. It’s a powerful, multi-layered story that takes us to an Earth where the sun is far away, and human beings are darker than ever.
Finding Dark Beach was the biggest highlight for me at the recent Florida SuperCon. I was fascinated by the concept and loved the art. It’s a perfect example of why Indie comics are so popular these days.
DARK BEACH #1
Creator: Michael Ruiz-Unger
Story: Michael Ruiz-Unger, Tucker Tota, Matthew Mongelia
Writer: Tucker Tota
Artist: Sebastian Piriz
Colorist: Ray Jones
Variant Cover: Brian Butler
Published by: Self-Published
Cover price: $3.99
Previously in DARK BEACH: Gordo dreams of a sun he’s never seen. Earth has been floating aimlessly through space for three hundred years. When the radiation emanating from the Old Sun began killing life across the planet, human civilization pooled its resources to launch ourselves away from it. A large habitat was built on the coast of Iceland, powered off the geothermal energy emitted by the Earth’s core. The city within this giant dome became known as New Reykjavik, where the human race would survive the harshness of deep space.
Or so the story goes, according to the New Reykjavik Corps of Engineers (NRCE). It’s what Gordo has been told his entire life. Except in his dream, the Old Sun is exploding.
Gordo lies on the beach and listens to his homemade police scanner, waiting to be alerted of crimes as soon as they are reported, specifically homicides. He races to the crime scene on his hand assembled motorcycle before the police can arrive. He snaps photos of the scene and delivers them to his journalist friend Duke. In exchange, Duke provides Gordo with a liquid drug called Ghost Choker, to which Gordo has become wistfully addicted.
But Gordo has stumbled upon an odd murder scene, rife with symbolism of the Old Sun. For the first time, Gordo decides to dig a little deeper, his curiosity fueled by his recurring visions of the Old Sun.
A SCI-FI CONCEPT I’VE NEVER ENCOUNTERED BEFORE
I need to include one more line about this series: “EARTH DRIFTS THROUGH SPACE. GORDO HAS DISCOVERED THE TRUE REASON WE LEFT THE OLD SUN. BUT THE BIGGEST SECRET ISN’T WHERE WE’VE BEEN… IT’S WHERE WE’RE HEADED.”
I’ve read science fiction for years and years, and I was truly taken in by this concept. The fact that there are multiple storylines going on also attracted me, including what is going on with the planet down to the murder mystery that can unlock that greater puzzle.
Imagine having no sunlight except in artificial circumstances. There’s a lot of talk about how people stuck indoors during the winter get “cabin fever.” Well, imagine that 24/7 for hundreds of years! It’s no wonder the people are as dark and as dour as they are!
Gordo is the main character, and he’s not having a good life. Apparently, he survives by racing to crime scenes to collect info before the cops can, then turning it over to his journalist friend, Duke. He’s also working at the Center for Science and Technology, something that will become important as the story unfolds, I’m sure.
As Gordo investigates the death of a young girl who might have been tasered while using a VR headset, he comes across lies, violence and a nagging sense that things aren’t what he thought they were.
Things move along at a rapid pace, with the characterizations strong and different from each other. Not many people tell the truth here, and that’s a good thing as far as the story goes. We’re in the same place as Gordo is, trying to uncover just what’s happening.
The notion that the planet is heading somewhere most likely seriously dangerous and unexpected adds that sense of urgency to the mystery already being investigated. Where it’s going, I don’t know, but I want to find out!
ART THAT FITS THE TONE
With a story like this, it’s critical that the art fit the story, and this artwork does that in spades! You can almost never escape the darkness, and then only in well-lit establishments.
Drama and action are both communicated superbly, and the facial expressions really help us understand what the people are feeling and why they’re doing what they are. It has that Criminal feel that I love, so I was pulled in immediately!
BOTTOM LINE: A Great Indie Comic Launch
I was fortunate enough to be helping out at the booth directly across the aisle from the creators of this comic, so it was easy for me to get both the regular cover and the variant as well.
It’s not in stores or on Comixology … yet … but if you can’t wait for the next convention appearance of this book, you can go to this website and purchase the digital version for 99 cents, the regular print version for $3.99, and the variant for $5.99. Highly recommended!
The second issue is still some time away, but I’ll be monitoring this series to make sure I get it as soon as it becomes available! It’s one of those comics where you can just feel that the creators know where they’re headed, and you don’t want to miss it!