Dark Blue : An Intriguing Concept

18 Jan

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about books here. In fact, when I look back every book reviews were the one I imported from my old blog. There’s not a single one I wrote ever since I moved to my own domain ! This trend should clearly be halted. 🙂


A graphic novel called “Dark Blue” has recently caught my attention. I finished reading it at one sitting in about 30 minutes last night. Yet that doesn’t exactly portray the work as a light reading at all. It was a very serious, mind-bending work of art by the prominent comic artists Warren Ellis and Jacen Burrows.

The first thing that came to my mind after I read the book is that the writer could have worked more in the character development. Granted, this is problematic in the short, concise format of graphic novel. Nevertheless, some thoughts should be given to this side so as not to waste a great story idea they already implemented in the book. Especially as the story idea is closely related to a psycho-thriller, as compared to just another “action” comic book.

Taken from Heavyink.com, the story synopsis seemed ordinary enough :

“Warren Ellis’ critically acclaimed Dark Blue is available as a deluxe graphic novel illustrated by Jacen Burrows with full gray tones! Violent, disturbed cop Frank Christchurch has too many problems. He has a partner who’s convinced he’s mentally ill, a commanding officer on smack, and a killer whom no one else seems to want to catch. The pressure of his savage life is triggering murderous outbursts and hallucinations. Frank Christchurch is on the way down. And he might take everyone with him. Nothing is as it seems. “;

It wasn’t until about halfway of the book when the extraordinary twist became clear. The world where Frank Christchurch operates is just an imaginary one, – induced by an experimental drug. This notion would later be elaborated somewhat in Ellis’ afterword where he admitted his fascinated by a kind of drug which will induce a same hallucinogenic effect in all people who take it, – regardless of their personal background differences. A brilliant concept to develop upon, to say the least.

All of those being said, Dark Blue was technically beautiful. Executed flawlessly by comic artist Jacen Burrows, the panels will haunt you long after you closed the book. Mature, graphic images are presented in such ways to emphasize the disturbing nature of the story. In this aspect, – combined with the premise of the book -, this work is an excellent one…


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