2012 Outhouse Award winner Larime Taylor's A Voice in the Dark #3 came out last week. It's the start of a new story arc called The Killing Game, and the first issue of A Voice in the Dark that I hadn't read months ago during the Kickstarter phase of the project. Following a moving, self-contained story in the previous issue, Taylor drops us right into the middle of a new plot with the news that Zoey has killed again, revealed via an opening scene set after the events of the rest of the issue. Zoey has killed two more people, and she's having a conversation with herself in the mirror, a la Dave Mustaine in the video for Megadeth's Sweating Bullets, except that, unlike Mustaine, we doubt Zoey will end up crying with the guys from Metallica in a therapy session on a documentary. Zoey doesn't waste much time rationalizing her actions - she killed to satisfy an urge, and she accepts who she is. In case we were feeling too sympathetic for Zoey after the events of the previous issue, we're reminded that she's a killer, and not your typical protagonist.
A dark, black past is myyyy... most valued po-ssession.
But, according to her manager at the radio station, Zoey serves a purpose in Cutter's Circle - she let's people know they're not alone. We know there's something wrong in Cutter's Circle, what with all the deaths, but now we're learning that some of the town's residents are acutely aware of it too. In fact, pretty much everyone but Zoey knows that Cutter's Circle is "the serial murder capital of the world." That include's Zoey's Uncle, which sets up some potential tension between them.
While Taylor builds the mythology of the small college town that serves as the setting for his story, he also does his usual excellent job of making sure that Zoey's friends and environment feel familiar to the reader. I've talked about the realness of the characters in A Voice in the Dark in previous reviews, but what Taylor is doing with the setting is worth mentioning as well as well. The backgrounds in A Voice in the Dark are slightly washed out of color, detailed but relatively non-distinct. Our eyes are drawn to the characters in the foreground, with the backgrounds in some panels seeming almost ethereal. It's a great way to create depth in the panels using only grayscale, and it's easy to forget that this is a black and white book, always a tough sell for books not called "The Walking Dead." I'd like to see some of the scenery become more distinct besides the radio station, but Taylor's art is getting more confident and taking new risks with every issue, and it's paying off.
We're three issues in, and the book is hitting a stride. This is the first installment of a multi-issue arc, and I'm exited to see Taylor be able to slow down the pacing and weave a longer tale. I would say this issue is a good jumping on point, and it is, but honestly you can go to Image's website and get the first two issues in digital right now, so you might as well just do that! The book is has been a massive critical success, and as previously mentioned, Larime Taylor is a rising star who won the most prestigious award in comics last year. With all the excitement over big name creators starting new creator-owned series at Image, it's important to support the stars of tomorrow as well, and that's what you'll be doing if you get in on the ground floor with A Voice in the Dark. And just think of all the sweet, hipster cred that will give you!
A Voice in the Dark #3 is a must-read!