While Eve is a living breathing human, she chooses to stay with the cold creatures of the undead. She does this for reasons very apparent. But these reasons are also unspoken, much to her regret. Such is her fate.
Dusk is an intriguingly different vampire story because the main character of the story isn’t actually a vampire. Beautiful young Eve hangs around vampires and is in love with a vampire named Ash. However, she’s actually just a human named Susan Douglas, a woman who has some dark secrets in her past.
In misery one dark and rainy night after a bad fight with her husband, Susan goes wandering the streets in an effort to clear her head. A hulking man confronts her and pulls a knife, revealing himself as Van Kraken, a vampire lord who tells her that he “will take you away from your mundane life and twist you into a slavishly obedient servitor.”
Van Kraken forces Susan to drink his blood, “You can either drink my blood or die!” From that moment forward, Susan becomes Eve and is in thrall to the vampires around her.
Susan still lives inside Eve–a fact that is perhaps best seen in a brief scene in which she attempts to have a reunion with her ex-husband. Their lack of a connection gives the story a bit of a wistful feel and which gives Susan’s back story a nice sense of closure.
Similarly, Ash really wants to push Eve out of the metaphorical nest. There’s a nice twist in the second story of this book that shows Ash’s real love for his human protégé. The scene is intriguing because it seems to go against the grain for this sort of story.
I shouldn’t just discuss this graphic novel’s characters. Dusk is also filled with dramatic action scenes that are exciting to read. Some could use some work in terms of their pacing, but most of the action in this book moves ahead in exciting ways.
I was really pleasantly surprised by the amount of potential shown in Dusk. David Doub has created a memorable character with Eve/Susan. She has a deep and passionate soul, but it has been bruised and battered by the horrors in which she’s taken part. The horrific ending to the first story in this volume shows the depths of evil that Eve/Susan has taken inside herself, but it also gives her a small chance for redemption.
Unfortunately, Doub’s dialogue is inconsistent. At times it feels natural, but Doub too often falls into the clichés that many writers of vampire novels fall into: the dialogue often gets stiff and unnatural in an effort to convey archaic speech patterns. Similarly, the artwork in this book is also amateurish, but shows potential.
The third story–much of which takes place in the Italian Alps in blowing snow–is a lot of fun to read. I’ve always had a weakness for stories that take place in snowstorms, and artist Jerry Gonzales does a good job of paying off the scene with attractive page layouts.
Maki Naro, who illustrates the first two stories, has a wonderfully creative eye for layouts. I loved the way he used the two-dimensional space of the page to convey more than could just be told in the story. The clever way he showed heartbeats was particularly interesting.
Dusk is one of those comics where a reader can sense a creator playing with ideas that could really pay off into something special. Doub has clever insights into his unique characters, and he has ideas on how to have those characters behave as individuals rather than as clichés. Those are rare attributes in a new writer.