REVIEW: ‘Darling,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Darling #1 - But Why Tho

Darling #1 is a deeply personal new series by Michael Fleizach & Todd Hunt with art and colors by Dave Mims and letters by Zack Turner. Published by Source Point Press, a portion of the proceeds for this series are donated to help people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. An 8-year-old is missing and Francis Darling, a New York City vagabond with a drug addiction, is struggling to get by.

This series starts off by telling the reader what they’re about to read isn’t true. No context. No clarity. Just a mysterious man who starts off our tale with a warning and a bit of charm. He rolls the seasons along to place us in our wintery context and drops us off with Darling as he plans a break-in to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, again. He’s a charming and sympathetic character, but not in an over-the-top kind of way. His presence would be subtle if you met him on a street corner. But his introduction is quite strong. As is his relationship with Trix.

I can’t entirely attest to the plot of this story yet. I know more from reading the series’ synopsis than from this issue. But that is perfectly okay. It’s a slow burn that I am fully prepared to have emotionally wreck me by the end. While I know the plot will take us to some dark places, and the introduction makes it clear that that the narrator and images on the pages cannot be trusted, I’m also fully captivated and ready to go along for the ride.

Possibly the greatest factor in this bill of goods is the art. It is utterly unique in its style, full of lines as rough and choppy as NYC itself. I love this aesthetic as it adds literal grit to the panels and people within them. The green and purple hues of the background give New York an otherworldly vibe that matches Darling’s view of the world while also keeping what could otherwise be a dingy visual bright and oddly attractive. I love all of the detailed graffiti throughout the city as well as the way that the comic puts the main characters in the background on occasion with strangers in the forefront. These two elements both act as anchors in the setting. The former gives a clear representation of the despondency of the city while the latter makes the main characters feel small and insignificant in the vast sea of people. I imagine this may be, to some degree, a metaphor for how Darling sees his own place in the universe and city.

There is an incredible charm to Darling #1 with its exceptional aesthetic and slow-burning plot. I may not know where this story will lead yet, but I do know I’m in for a doozy. Regardless, I’ll more than look forward to seeing what path the series takes me down while supporting help for people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

Darling #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Darling #1
5

TL;DR

There is an incredible charm to Darling #1 with its exceptional aesthetic and slow-burning plot. I may not know where this story will lead yet, but I do know I’m in for a doozy. Regardless, I’ll more than look forward to seeing what path the series takes me down while supporting help for people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.