Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Begin Your Journey Into the Unbeing with Dark Horse’s New Title

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Into the Unbeing Part One is a new miniseries from Dark Horse beginning June 12th 2024. The series, numbering four issues, was written by Zac Thompson with art by Hayden Sherman and lettering by Jim Cambell. It is a post-apocalyptic eco-terror story with plenty of cosmic horror vibes. I had the opportunity to follow this group of scientists for the first two issues ahead of release. I am definitely intrigued, so here’s my experience with the start of the comics.

Into the Unbeing Part One Issue 1 Cover
Into the Unbeing Part One Issue 1 Cover

This series throws you right into the action. Considering it’s only four issues, that is extremely important. From the start it is made clear that something catastrophic occurred. Described as a “mass-extinction”, whatever this was didn’t just take out humans. Five billion plant and animal species were wiped out, too. Unlike other post-apocalyptic narratives, technology seems to still be working. Our group of scientists is connected to the organization they work for: S.I.N.E.W. This connection provides the impetus for the story—an alert of something that should not be.

It is this anomaly that begins the feeling of cosmic horror. Something just… isn’t right. The scientists respond in different ways. For some, it is the science that guides them. These species shouldn’t be found here. This structure isn’t behaving like the material normally does. This component appears to be out of time. For others, it is a feeling. A deep knowing, a prickle on the back of their neck. This is also where I suspect the name of the miniseries comes from. Could this massive possible creature we see be the “unbeing?” And speaking of that visual, there is something to be said for choosing a visual medium for telling this tale.

We get to see the big picture, literally. While these four scientists are stuck in their bodies and their heads, we get all of that and more. I have read two issues and seen the thoughts of two crew members—one per issue. Since there are four issues total, it is my hope the remaining issues will follow the other half of the team. More than that, we get wide angle shots. We can see in darkness they can’t. We can linger on images they see for but a moment. And it is those glimpses that heighten the stakes.

Huge credit to Sherman for the art in these comics. They did the coloring as well as the art, and the palette chosen fits the mood. It’s dark, it’s often low-saturated, and it is variable. Very few objects are colored flatly, and if they are—they’re clearly manmade. This decision clearly delineates the organic from the inorganic. And if that pattern is true, and it looks like it is, this anomaly, this cave, is absolutely not a cave. It is something more. Or it was. That part, at least, I’ll have to keep reading to find out.

That comment, about the whalefall, really stuck with me. Yes, it’s probably because I read and loved Daniel Kraus’ Whalefall earlier this year. Okay, it is entirely because of that. Because that book almost felt like cosmic horror, too. But it was done with great empathy and reverence for the whale. It was something primal, looking at our place as humans in the vastness of the world we inhabit. A world with creatures and biomes we can hardly begin to understand. Since this comic seems to be leaning into humans as destroyers, I am deeply curious to see the interactions with this possible entity unfold.

Curiosity is what I have the most of. I have read half of this miniseries. And with the title being Into the Unbeing Part One, I have to wonder if I have even read half. The research I have done does not confirm subsequent parts. In fact, I can only confirm release dates for issues one, two, and three. Issue number four has not yet been added to the Dark Horse site. They are coming out monthly, though, so it is a good guess that this miniseries will wrap in September. Once we get closer I’ll be keeping my eye out for news on a Part Two.

Into the Unbeing Part One Issue 2 Cover
Into the Unbeing Part One Issue 2 Cover

I’m simply not sure how this whole story can be finished in just two more issues. The world Thompson has created is so vast. Even without the implications of this anomaly, the state of the earth and the details concerning what happened are fascinating. Especially with the bold choice to start the apocalypse, well, next year. Nothing gives you chills more than seeing 2025 in an apocalyptic tale, right? At least, it gave me chills.

Images from advance copies courtesy of Dark Horse.

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