REVIEW: ‘Dai Dark,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dai Dark Volume 1

If you’re ready for a zany sci-fi adventure with tons of dark humor and hilarious characters, look no further than Dark Dai. Created by the same mangaka behind Dorohedoro, Q Hayashida has brought us another great series you’ll fall in love with instantly. Dark Dai Volume 1 is published by Seven Seas, translated by Daniel Komen with lettering by Phil Christie, and adaptation by Casey Lucas.

We meet our main character half-dead, floating through space. It just so happens that a junk cartel ship is passing by and picks up the body. It isn’t until the captain espies the peculiar backpack—known as a paggy—on his back that they realize just who this is, Zaha Sanko.

Sanko’s body holds great power—possessing his bones will grant any wish. The captain is ready to kill Sanko to become the ruler of the universe. But the captain is just another thug, and Sanko and his skeleton paggy, Avakian, are used to using their dark powers to fend off murder attempts. But with the cartel out of the way, Sanko can continue his journey to find the person who put this curse on Sanko’s bones.

If you’ve read Dorohedoro, you’ll realize pretty quickly that Dai Dark Volume 1 has a very similar setup: a main character with a curse who is trying to find the one who cursed him. But while a similar setup for our protagonists’ adventure, the world is completely different. Sanko travels through space, showing us a multitude of different locations and aliens. The mechanics of the world are different, too, with the combination of dark powers and flesh creating comical but also gory results.

The same hand that created the zany characters of Dorohedoro is back at it again, creating everything from aliens with bucket heads that spew poisonous gas to a skeletal dog as a ship navigator to the glob-like beings that act as elementary school teachers. Each character is unique, odd but fun, and makes for some hilarious banter and situations. From page one, this series is weird, and the absurd, quirky characters drag it even further into weirdness.

Most of Dark Dai Volume 1 consists of plot setup. We learn who our main characters are, what Sanko can do with his dark powers, bits of his childhood, and how the planet of Darknest—the place Sanko gets his powers—works. But despite all this setup, no page is ever boring. From the beginning, we instantly get a dose of absurdity, but that’s exactly what I expected from Hayashida.

If you’ve read Dorohedoro, you know exactly what to expect from the art. There is gore galore, but Hayashida has a peculiar way of drawing frightening characters with the most innocent faces. It honestly further expands the oddity of this volume and always catches readers off guard. The few pages of fighting are dynamic. The only downfall I can see in this volume is that in wide panels with Sanko and Avakian, it can be difficult to know who is speaking when Avakian sits on Sanko’s back. Thankfully, the speaker doesn’t really matter in these instances.

Dai Dark Volume 1 is a zany, gory, absurd beginning to a series that any fans of Dorohedoro will instantly fall in love with. The characters are easy to love, and Sanko’s adventure is shaping up to be a fun time.

Dai Dark Volume 1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Dai Dark Volume 1
4.5

TL;DR

Dai Dark Volume 1 is a zany, gory, absurd beginning to a series that any fans of Dorohedoro will instantly fall in love with. The characters are easy to love and Sanko’s adventure is shaping up to be a fun time.