REVIEW: Dark Matter Graphic Novels, Volumes 1-4
The names Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie should be very familiar to any die hard science fiction fan—after all, these men worked on the Stargate franchise and brought us some of the most memorable characters in sci-fi history. It’s exciting to see them turn their talented eyes to graphic novels, to tell an all new odyssey set in space in the distant future.
A ship is floating in deep space. Life support is low, and the crew is in stasis. One by one, they’re awakened and have to face a potential disaster. Their ship is failing them, they have no idea what they are, and even worse—they have no idea who they are. These six crew members have absolutely no memory of their previous lives; they don’t know their names, their histories, and they have no clue why they’re on this ship in the middle of nowhere. Dark Matter #1 has a fascinating premise that sets the stage for volumes 2 through 4. Mallozzi and Mullie exploit this amnesia well for the very best shock value.
It’s hard to describe Dark Matter any further without giving away key plot points. Each part builds on the one before it, revealing new plot details and keys to the identities of these six crew members. As they learn about themselves, their ship, and what their mission might be, they delve into profound questions of identity. Who are you, if you have no memories of who you were? Do our histories define us? If you lose your memory and can’t remember your worst deeds, is it possible you can become an entirely different person? These questions are important ones, and Dark Matter explores them well.
The setting of Dark Matter is deep space, and though Mallozzi and Mullie have clearly built a rich, detailed world, the reader doesn’t learn much about it in these four issues. There are hints, to be sure, but for the most part, the reader is plunged into an entirely foreign place. The authors can do a lot with the wide open setting going forward, and it only whets the reader’s appetite for what is to come.
Though the initial run of Dark Matter was certainly short, it’s satisfying. The series wraps up well, and though readers will definitely want to visit more of this wondrous world (beautifully rendered by artist Garry Brown), there’s no cliffhanger. Mallozzi and Mullie have made it very clear that they intend to do more with this series; here’s hoping it comes soon, as what they’ve built will excite sci-fi fans. If you’re a fan of Firefly, you’ll definitely want to seek out Dark Matter.
What did you think of Dark Matter?