I'm pretty sure Frank over at Mad Cave Studios knows when I need a distraction from corrupting the minds of the youth of America, because whenever I'm getting ready to go on a tirade...I get a new message alert that there's something new from Mad Cave to (p)review. Today was no different, as we were about to deconstruct the midterms, the students got to writing an essay, and I got to writing a review about this intriguing fantasy heist book... Dahlia in the Dark.
Dahlia in the Dark #1 (Mad Cave Studios)
By: Joe Corallo Andrea Miliana, Chris Shehan, Micah Myers
Previews FOC: 11/14/22, Mad Cave Studios Pre-order Until 12/1
Releases: December 7, 2022
The book opens with our main character, a paranormal hitman named Donny Dahlia, where we see him kill a lycanthrope on a hotel balcony, and quickly return home with his daughter and wife. However the beautiful sepia-toned introduction gives us little breadcrumbs of why Dahlia is now considered untouchable, or why he may have fallen out of favor with his wife and daughter.
After this flashback, a worse-for-wear Donny (and I mean, "he really let himself go" worse-for-wear) heads in to meet up with a large Kingpin-esque figure named Ollie Oleander. Mr. Oleander offers Donny to be a second in command on a simple delivery job (much to Donny's outrage) where we learn slightly that Dahlia has fallen out of favor with his fellow professionals.
After an explosively active set of pages, we learn that this simple delivery may not be as easy as Oleander makes it out to be. As we fly through the final 10-ish pages, we get to learn the absolutely bonkers world we are living in where several different types of sci-fi/fantasy characters are at war. There are cyborgs, fairies, spooky winged monkey looking things and more. Oleander (a human or what the fantasy beings call ephemerals) is willing to sell out his team so he can simply stay ahead in life because he's a winner.
My one fear with stories/movies etc. like this, with a secret package, is the fear of never knowing what's in the box (like Pulp Fiction or Ronin). As Dahlia's world is starting to catch fire, without his knowledge, we get to unexpectedly learn about the box's contents. While it is not as shocking as someone's wife's head (like in Seven), I definitely didn't see the contents coming!
In short, I'll let George Clooney in an episode of Carpool Karaoke summarize my ultimate feelings:
I absolutely loved this book, and cannot wait to see how quickly this wild world unfolds!
About the Creators
Joe Corallo (He/Him): Eisner and GLAAD nominated. Ringo winner for Best Anthology in 2018. Co-created and writes She Said Destroy at Vault Comics. Edits Oh S#!t It's Kim & Kim at Black Mask Studios, the Mine! anthology at ComicMIx, and the Dead Beats anthology at A Wave Blue World.
I absolutely loved Becstar (which Corallo did with Mad Cave) and you know if Liana touches it (She Said Destroy) I'm there in the front row. While this seems like a radical departure from what Corallo did with both of those titles, my mind is simply blown, and I need to get more of his work in my life!
Andrea Milana is a cartoonist from Rome, born in 1993.
After graduating in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts, he entered the world of comics through self-publishing, to which he devoted himself for several years.
"Dahlia in the dark" marks his debut as a professional artist in the US market.
This is not just Andrea's debut in the United States, but it is his FIRST COMIC EVER, and the very unique stylings and color palettes throughout the book, all I can say is that I need to buy everything with his name on it because I see big things coming for this Italian superstar!
All I can say is that Dahlia in the Dark continues to extend Mad Cave Studios' streak of absolute Bangers in my eyes, and you should get in on the first printing game, because I don't think I've speculated so hard on a book since Nottingham!