It’s A Maul World After All

Oct 4, 2022

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Dark Ride #1 Cvr

Home of the Devil’s Due for over 50 years. Devil Land is one man’s dream to show us all our fears. Image Comics new series makes it clear this new job is full of scares. On the Dark Ride it doesn’t matter if you keep your hands inside the car at all times. You’re still gonna lose your head.

Dark Ride #1
“Here Rests”

Image Comics

Creator, Writer: Joshua Williamson
Creator, Artist: Andrei Bressan
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Pat Brosseau

The black and white noir film that opens Dark Ride #1 is like a page out of cinema history. A look back at how the Devil Land came into existence. The journey begins with a bump in the road – and one to the head. Arthur Dante’s story isn’t different from many other famous dreamers. After being fired for his ideas he finds himself facing a fork in the road. Unfortunately this is where Arthur becomes a victim to his own ambition. A full panel image from creator,artist Andrei Bressen gives readers a look at the gentleman after making a decision that leaves him at a crossroad.

Dark Ride #1 Int

Creator, writer Joshua Williams introduces the demonic aspect of Dark Ride early to readers. Arthur’s wreck of a situation finds a one way ticket in the form of an unseen entity. The creative Arthur will soon discover there are indeed fans of his ideas. Making the deal, Mr. D hitches his hopes to a hidden host; helping bring Devil Land to life. Begun on site that is equal parts epitaph and eerie ebbnezer – The Devil’s Due.

Like something from a MGM classic the scene then shifts from Arthur’s past to the present. The colorful image of Devil Land as it is now is a stark contrast to the earlier portions of the comic. Adriano Lucas captures a sunrise breaking through the clouds as it illuminates a park that features creatures that prefer the night. This image of Devil Land really captures the scope of this horror theme park; some would even call it amusing.

Dark Ride #1 Int

The second portion of Dark Ride #1 is equal parts park orientation and advertisement. Readers get a glimpse of attractions like Werewolf Woods and Murder Mountain as new employee Owen Seasons awaits his trainer. As a lifetime fan of the park, it seems even Owen’s name cleverly jokes at the 365 day celebration of the holiday.. It’s also Owen’s knowledge of the park allows this comic to catch readers up. Since the last time it was seen was during it’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Dark Ride makes sure Owen, and readers, know this is more than a play land. The underground of Devil Land is full of plenty of scares. During the day these just come in the form of security. However most of them are only interested in enjoying the guests shocking behaviors. Yes, sex and scares do go together but it also breaks a rule.

Following a speech from the head of security, Owen receives a Devil Land fan’s dream come true. First, he actually bumps right into Samhain, the son of Arthur and current managing director of Devil Land. Williamson uses this impromptu business meeting to issue a state of scares statement. Like his father, Dante has doubters and debts. Devil Land is bleeding and needs some new blood – especially since people don’t wanna pay when they can get their scares for free in their daily lives.

Dark Ride #1 Cvr

Owen is still in shock over his first encounter with one Dante’s infants when he gets another treat. The park’s visitors erupt into celebration upon the arrival of Dante’s other child, his daughter Halloween. Once again Williamson delivers a trick with the siblings’ names. And their appreciation of their legacy. Halloween is the more playful, profitable and clearly very uninhibited child. You imagine she immediately thinks of a way to make any costume “sexy”. Samhain wants to stay true to the spirit of the park – keeping the “ghost” of his father alive in the park. Especially since no one has seen Arthur for some time. One sibling respects the ritual while the other realizes and is reaping the retail receipts.

While the sun rising on Devil Land is breathtaking, once the sun sets things become eye opening. Dark Ride #1 ends with a tease of a potential new attraction coming to Devil Land. Will it be the long promised ride from the reclusive founder, Arthur Dante? Or is it Owen, who is already quite an impression on his first day. Is he getting a head, which is very possible since he didn’t technically meet Halloween yet.

Dark Ride #1 is a mix of the fun and fear that we associate with the spooky season. But Devil Land is a business and like any new job it has a few slow moments which could leave you wondering if you’re coming back tomorrow. Watching Owen’s first day may not earn Devil Land the title of happiest place on earth however it makes him, and others, happy so it can’t be that bad?

Score: 8.9

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