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The 140-page graphic novel Ark focuses on the relationships and ideological conflicts within a spaceship’s crew whose mission is not what it seems. The crew is split between humans and animalistic “meta-humans” created by genetic experiments. Across this species gap, some find love and friendship, and others find distrust and resentment.

As the Explorer spaceship approaches the edge of the solar system, communication from Earth has ceased, and no one knows why. Tensions flare between the metas and the humans. A mysterious message and a murder provide the sparks to ignite the flame.

Author Peter Dabbene tells the tale through dialogue for most of the book, and at first glance there is more talking about conflict than actual conflict. But Ark is not science fiction in the vein of Predator or Aliens, where high-tech shoot-outs and physical violence rule the day. Ark more resembles vintage Isaac Asimov stories where character responses to the central concept, and how it affects their relationships, are the true heart of the story.

Without spoiling it, we can say that Dabbene leaves the tale open-ended. Ark could easily be the set-up for a longer, ongoing series. After all, the Explorer logo on the cover bears the Latin phrase “sic itur ad astra,” which means “thus one journeys to the stars.” It could be that the ill-fated ark’s tragedy at the edge of the solar system has laid the foundation for even greater adventures in the uncharted vastness of the galaxy.

ARK (published by Arcana Comics). Available digitally at www.comixology.com ($4.99). Available in print ($19.95) at Arcana’s website and on Amazon.

See more books from this author at http://www.peterdabbene.com/books.htm

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