Advance Review: Tragedy Is Good For Business In `Dark Ride’ #4

by Tom Smithyman


The series concludes its first story arc with a strong outing, featuring theme park intrigue, family drama and assorted demonic theme park characters. Some memorable artwork helps to make the story real.


When an accident happens at a theme park, it makes headlines that usually take their toll on attendance. After all, who wants to be reminded of their mortality when their looking to have a good time on vacation?

But when the body of a young fan is found hanging in a ride in Devil Land in the latest issue of Dark Ride, attendance actually takes off faster than a roller coaster. It’s almost as if the dark spirits demanded a sacrifice. Almost…

Writer Joshua Williamson continues his strong run on his creator-owned series, where he mixes his clear love of theme parks with a twisted sense of what it takes to succeed in the entertainment business. Williamson has done a great job of keeping readers on their toes, first killing off what appeared to be the main character at the end of the first issue and then stunning his audience every month with a shocking splash-page twist.

The final page in this issue isn’t as much of a shock – call it a mild surprise – but it does a good job of closing out the initial story arc and setting up the next chapter by amping up the family drama.

Artist Andrei Bressan has a lot to work with in this issue as well. A memorable double-page spread features a dozen costumed mascots – including a witch, a vampire and a couple devils – kneeling before the son of the park’s founder. Whether the characters are really humans in costume or otherworldly beings is more or less answered by the issue’s end.

Bressan always plays with his readers a bit to make sure they are paying attention. At one point, a character gets lost in the park. A prominent statue of the founder and the main mascot changes directions in each panel to confuse the lost patron and to scare the observant reader.

The series will take the next few months off to give the ghosts and ghouls a rest but will return in April. It should be exciting to see where this ride takes us.

Dark Ride #4 will be available for purchase tomorrow.

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