Larime Taylor

A Voice in the Dark 7 (May 2014)

A Voice in the Dark #7Taylor finishes up the arc and he doesn’t shy away from the murders. He’s still working in the severely layered timeline–going back and rereading the arc and understanding how the past and present move through would probably be an interesting experience. I’m sure it reads a little different.

The issue is mostly methodical, with the protagonist going through her plans and then the actual murders she commits. Taylor’s again great at keeping judgment out of the tone, even when the protagonist questions herself. She’s a likable serial killer (and these are bad people).

Only Taylor never goes into the future. The entire five part arc, the contemporary stuff, it ends with the protagonist’s success. There’s a hard cliffhanger to build anticipation but it’s on the boring “other serial killers” subplot. There’s nothing with Zoey’s life outside being an avenging angel serial killer.

Still, it’s a satisfactory finish to the arc.

B 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part Five; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; editor, Duncan Eagleson; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 6 (April 2014)

A Voice in the Dark #6Taylor's been setting up a murder for so long I can't even remember how many people get killed in it. The format's the same every issue; he opens in the present, with Zoey cleaning up after the murder, and then flashes back.

This issue concentrates solely on Zoey as she prepares to commit the murder. Or a murder. Part of Dark's charm is how Taylor is able to build a lot of backstory in his issues, even though there's not a lot of exposition lately. There's usually a talking heads scene or two–this issue has one–and it's enough to move things along. It's like there are whole b and c plots happening off panel, with Taylor ready to bring them in once they've percolated enough.

The story continues to be engaging–with Zoey getting a love interest now–but this arc's getting a little too long. Hopefully it'll wrap sooner than later.

B 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part Four; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; editor, Duncan Eagleson; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 5 (March 2014)

A Voice in the Dark #5It’s a talking heads issue. Conversation after conversation after conversation. Not in a bad way, as Taylor does develop characters and flesh out the situations in the conversations. There’s a very good banter element, especially with the protagonist and her uncle. Taylor gets into college-related minutiae then goes directly into serial killer stuff.

There’s still the opening frame with the protagonist cleaning up after killing someone–Taylor doesn’t worry about action shots. There’s some implied violence this issue, but he’s comfortable just having the violence talked about. The more riveting parts of Voice come from how Taylor structures his issues. There’s a cliffhanger this time around, but it’s a soft one and not the most interesting of the last few pages’ revelations.

The art is solid. Again, Taylor is only really doing talking heads. He keeps the conversations visually compelling.

The delayed narrative gratification better be worth it though.

B 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part Three; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 4 (February 2014)

Vd4Taylor’s either got a new stylistic flourish–people in the background being in grey–or I just haven’t noticed it. It’s a fine enough development, either way, as Taylor’s spending more time on his foregrounds.

Hopefully, cliffhangers are the next thing he works on. A Voice in the Dark improves every issue–which is really cool, even if it’s in little ways. But this issue’s lack of drama hurts it, even if the scenes are better. There’s another murder, there’s a dispute with the evil sorority girls, there’s a death penalty debate… there’s just not much forward motion. And Taylor’s got this story in a frame, so clearly it’s going to get interesting eventually.

Why put it off?

One more thing–well, three if I count the two cops with goatees–the college being the serial killer capital of the world? It’s idiotic, but palatable. Taylor’s adjusted reality just enough.

B- 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part Two; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 3 (January 2014)

CVG8kMw AVITD003 lores 1It’s an odd issue because it seems talkier than it actually plays out.

The protagonist has a meeting with her radio station boss, meets her roommates for lunch, meets her shrink… it feels like there might be another meeting in there, but maybe not. It’s a “state of the union” issue, with Taylor following up the previous issue’s big ending.

Only that ending isn’t really all that big of a deal. And this issue brings in the secrets of the small, quiet college town–it’s had more serial killers than anywhere else. All of a sudden Dark is getting silly. It’s turning into a slasher movie (what with an almost exclusively college coed cast, save one black cop); Taylor’s ambitions are either changing or developing poorly.

His enthusiasm for the series is still apparent and the art’s definitely improving in some areas. The pacing, and plotting, are not improving, however.

C 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part One; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 2 (December 2013)

AVoiceInTheDark 02 1Taylor does not give up. He starts out this issue with the some of the same problems as the last one–his dialogue is too cute, his banter too contrived. But he sells the concept through determination.

He goes very episodic. The protagonist is fielding a call on her talk radio show from a girl threatening suicide. The issue is them going back and forth, the girl’s story slowly revealing itself.

This comic raises a number of interesting questions–yes, Taylor has his writing problems, but he’s always fully committed to himself and to the work. He’s not half-assed, ever. The art isn’t great, but it gets the job done. So what else should Alone in the Dark be doing?

The most interesting thing should be the ending, which answers a question Taylor sneakily raises to the reader. Sadly it’s not. But Taylor’s ambitious and ambition counts for something.

B- 

CREDITS

Blood Makes Noise, Part Two; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 1 (November 2013)

AVitD001  draggedA Voice in the Dark is a strange comic. Writer and artist Larime Taylor takes a try until it works approach. It’s also a very dense first issue–probably a fifteen minute read. Not a bad thing, but never what I expect.

He’s very ambitious. The most mundane thing about the comic has to be the structure–it’s a college freshman’s dear diary–but everything else is crazy.

His protagonist is a biracial eighteen year-old girl with an adopted (but rescued in her teens adopted) lesbian sister, coming from a poor family going to a prestigious college, with a gay cop uncle in the new town, who also is a wannabe serial killer.

Voice should collapse under all the weight, but doesn’t. Taylor’s sincerity and commitment come through, making up for a lot of the rough patches.

His cop dialogue, for example, flops, but his college dialogue is good.

In spite of its problems, Voice is surprisingly compelling.

CREDITS

Blood Makes Noise, Part One; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; editor, Danny Donovan; publisher, Image Comics.

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