When you hear about a book that has mobsters being assassinated by a team of women you can’t help but rip it off the shelf foaming at the mouth like some wild animal. It’s just too good a concept to let it sit there at your local comic shop. But to my surprise the description I read on the Image Comic website was a bit misleading, but after reading through it I was still very much impressed with the book. Rich Tommaso, a creator I honestly had never heard of, nor anyone I spoke with, became a big blip on my radar after reading Dark Corridor by Image Comics.

This book isn’t your traditional comic book in the sense of one narrative story being told, it’s two. Tommaso explains that the title of the comic, Dark Corridor, is more of a blanket title, like The Twilight Zone and the stories inside have their own title. The book is split in half by two stories: The first, titled “The Red Circle” tells a story of a small time hit man finding a dog, where that dog then leads him to a murder scene. The other story, titled “Seven Deadly Daughters”, tells of an old man who had been shot telling a “funny story” related to the present circumstances.

Dark Corridor Page 7

Writing

The stories Tommaso brings in this first issue were both introductory, which was expected, and climactic in their own way. To lessen the vagueness without spoiling it, the stories end in a way where these specific narratives could either end right then and there or become the beginning of a long, interesting tale. Either way is fine by me because Tommaso has this specific style of storytelling that is just refreshing for someone used to the works of Ellis, Kirkman, and many other “Big League” writers. Seeing something as rare as this was like a cold glass of lemonade on a hot July day.

The first story, the one about the small time hit man, Pete, walks in on a murder scene is told through Pete’s explaining how he got there after finding a dog at his home covered in blood. Once there, the way the story is told and progressed goes from a retelling narration to a first person account. While this is nothing new, it took me a second read through to even notice the shift because of how seamless and well-crafted the perspective is.

The second story, 7 Deadly Daughters, was the one that really took the cake for me. It starts with a presumed mid-level mob member, by the name of Mr. Ricci, at the hospital with a gunshot wound in the chest. He retells how he got there and the parallels of the present and his past. His story is one of the most symmetrical things I have ever read, and it was just a blast to read. The story seemed to be more along the lines of a short film as opposed to a short story–the use of the art in this story in particular was just marvelous from a writer’s perspective. I can’t really say much about the story in particular without spoiling it, but I will say that the way this tale, as well as the book, ends stayed with me for quite some time giving me something to chew on and think about.

What ever Rich Tommaso did to create these stories I hope he does more of, because it is just good writing, plain and simple.

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Art

The art style in this book, I have to say, was not my cup of tea at first. But by the time the story gets rolling, the art seemed to just click and everything fell into place. From what I can read in the credits, everything in this book was created by the hands of Tommaso; this is his baby. With the artist being the same person as the writer, the two are very much intertwined together for better or for worse.

The bold colors and flat style really made the pages pop and every page turn seemed like a new experience. One page may have a beige and bland tone, which was intentional and worked to its benefit, while the next may have vibrant colors of the sky during sunset. Every single panel was meticulously drawn and colored to match the tone, and has the feeling that Tommaso wanted you to feel–boy did it work! The less realistic look made this book stand on its own two feet and not have to be compared to the artistry in other “main stream” books, which really falls in line to what I think Tommaso’s style is.

Finally, the lettering in this book also fell into place like everything else. It was noticeably different from most of the books I have read. The differentiation that this book has in regards to art and story telling goes double for the lettering. The words and bubbles in this book weren’t just a block of text to tell what the people were saying, which is more than I could say for some of the books I’ve seen, and instead it was part of the art. From the noises the dog makes to the sound effects used as a punctuation, it all just fit perfectly with what I felt the book’s style was.

All in all, this first issue is a serious page-turner and absolutely something you need to pull and read, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Score
90 %

The Indie style and fantastic storytelling by Rich Tommaso makes this book an easy sell and a must-buy! Tommaso may not be someone you're familiar with in comics, but after this book you will be!

Writing 95%
Art 90%
Lettering 100%
Flow and Progression 100%

About The Author

Jeff Perry is the host of After Image, a podcast dedicated to all things Image Comics. Jeff is also a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University working as an engineer in the broadcast industries. His hobbies include comics, podcasting, writing, and spending way too much time playing on his PS4.

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