“DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE” Vol. 1 (Graphic Novel Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on June 26, 2011

Both humorous and thrilling, DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE VOL. 1 (Image Comics) packs all the one-liners, monsters and nonstop action that any comic book fan would want.

Unfortunately, the first day of high school brings out the worst in everyone; something Ariel Chylde quickly realizes as she is walking into hell itself. Bullied by the popular girls, scorned by a male lecturer and unexpectedly stumbling upon a zombie cheerleader in the bathroom, Ariel is ready to give up. Demons have taken over the school and this cursed teenager has to defend herself from the darkness.

Suddenly, Ariel finds herself running away from Ravagers, giant skeletal dinosaurs. Help comes from the unlikeliest places as best friend Kiley has returned from the grave and hasn’t aged a day since.

Author Randy Queen amazingly brings out the emotion in this coming-of-age tale. His characters feel real and relatable as Ariel has difficulty finding her place in a new school. Tired of being alone and wanting to belong, she reverts to her past and hides in her memories. Ariel’s narration is well-written and expressive, brimming with teen angst and self-discovery.

The artwork from Queen, Brandon Peterson, and Ron Adrian makes the pages come alive with much intensity. From top to bottom, the character design of Ariel is simply stunning. There is so much unbelievable detail put into her facial expressions with the major highlight being the climactic battle between Kid Wicked and Ariel, as Ravagers surround them.

DREAMS OF DARKCHYLDE Vol. 1 is perfect for new readers who are unfamiliar with the DARKCHYLDE series. Well-balanced in horror, comedy, and fantasy this is surely one of the most memorable monster hunters in comic-book history.