Years ago there was a young woman named Susan Douglas. Her life would have seemed a happy one at a cursory glance. But her husband was a drinker and he was ill-equipped to handle a wife who was more successful in her chosen career than he was in his. Things built to a head until one stormy night, when he finally lashed out in anger and Susan Douglas ran off into the darkness.
That was the end of Susan Douglas. But it was the beginning for a woman called Eve. For a being of power—a vampire by the modern vernacular—had sensed the magic within Susan Douglas that she knew nothing about. It was a power the vampire could make use of, with Susan properly trained and enslaved to his will.
Such was Eve’s life until she was rescued by the vampire Lord Ash, who had long since abandoned the petty games that most of his race played with humanity. It was Ash’s will that Eve live a normal life, free of the darkness that commanded her for so long. But Eve’s magic, backed by the powers she gained as a vampire’s thrall, has made her a formidable weapon in the battle against the evils Ash seeks to destroy. As for Eve, she believes she has come to love her new Master, but that’s just the blood-bond talking. Or so Ash says…
The world of Dusk may seem hauntingly familiar to readers of gothic horror or anyone who ever played the World of Darkness role-playing games. Writer David Doub utilizes most of the standard tropes for modern urban fantasy. This is a traditional tale of gothic horror, with dark magics manipulating mankind and blood-sucking vampires who make no bones about their status as monsters. What the setting lacks in originality, however, Doub more than makes up for with style.
Most of the stories in Dusk’s three volumes center upon Eve dealing with some supernatural menace or another. The details of her past—and her relationship with Ash—are slowly spread throughout the various tales. This is comparable to Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy, which utilized an anthology format to tell high-action tales of monster-fighting while slowly revealing and developing the main characters. This slow feeding of details proves most enthralling as Eve and Ash are quite interesting, if conflicted, characters.
Would that the artwork were of similar quality to the writing throughout! Many artists have contributed to these tales and there isn’t a uniform look or style between them. For the most part the artwork is good, but some of the artwork is frankly amateurish and is so heavily inked as to render it all but impossible to separate the characters from the backgrounds. Thankfully, Doub’s prose makes it worth the trouble to muddle through the messy bits.
Dusk has not been given an official rating, but the content is comparable to that of the average T+ manga for readers 16 and up. There is a bit of bloodshed, as one would expect in a story with vampires, as well as the occasional profanity. The relationship between Eve and Ash contains some BDSM elements—including references to collars and leashes—that some parents may be uncomfortable with their teens reading about. Finally, there’s a fair bit of sexual content, with Eve’s bare backside being revealed in one chapter and another chapter focusing on Eve’s attempts to create a magical duplicate of Ash, with hijinks ensuing.
Dusk, Vols 1-3
by David Doub and Shannon McDonald
Art by Maki Naro, Jerry Gonzales, Franc Czuba, Chris Scott, Sean Carner, Jolene Houser, Zhongping Chem, David Faught, Walter Jimenez II, Federico Zumel, Jeff Hurst, and Joamette Gil
ISBN, Vol 1: 9780578014364
ISBN, Vol 2: 9780982920510
ISBN, Vol 3: 9780988383630
Dusk Comics, 2009-2015
Publisher Age Rating: (13+)