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Simon Dark #6

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2008
By: Bryant Frattalone

Steve Niles
Scott Hampton
DC Comics
Plot: Something about a truck hijacking and bars of soap being used in the grand infernal plot of the villains.

Commentary: I really hate to say this but I think Simon Dark has jumped the shark. Some of my colleagues here would say that happened a few issues ago and I may have to concede and give up on this book at last. I was enjoying the atmosphere of the thing and feeling for the main character but now itís time for Simon Dark to come out of the dark! And, I just donít know that Niles knows where he wants to go with this anymore. Weíve been left in the dark for half a year now with very little explanation or exposition as to Simonís origins and what exactly is going on. This issue Niles attempts to give us some insight to Simonís origins but everything is vague and sketchy that Iím starting no longer to care. I think Simonís own internal monologue on page one says it best. ďIím closer now, so close. I donít know how I know it, but I do.Ē See, thatís the thing Simon! We donít know how you know either! We donít even know where the heck you are while you are saying this. Niles and Hampton transition us from scene to scene with no warning whatsoever and all of a sudden weíre somewhere with a hint of something about a Mendo Soap truck driver thatís sinister. Next someone (we donít know who) stages an accident and hi-jacks the truck which we learn later is full of what seems to be demon possessed bars of soap! Yes, seriously. Itís something I never thought Iíd ever utter but again; demon possessed bars of soap! We then switch to what is most likely (weíre never sure) the shadow cabinet of nameless, wealthy individuals who are gleeful the truck and soap and driver have been captured because now they can proceed with their fiendish plot! Oh yeah, it has to do with demon possessed bars of soap.

We then shift to Rachel and Beth buying a new cat for Simon. I almost forgot their names and itís been six issues in. This is due to any real lack of character development and something Iíve been harping on since this seriesí start. Scott Hamptonís people just are not drawn with enough distinction or variety. Itís still hard to tell who is who at times and it just does not make for an enjoyable read. Chris Chuckryís coloring works for the background and overall dark tones of the story but it does not help with the character aspects. There is a big flashback sequence where we kind of see what actually happened in Simonís creation. First he was suspended in a tank, headless and made of sewed together body parts. That was the science part of his origins. Next, heís in a basement lying in a pentagram, encircled by various heads of all races and colors. Two hooded figures place a glob of clay where Simonís head should be, do some hocus pocus and poof the other heads burst into flame creating an unbroken ring of flame converging on Simonís clay head. So, I guess this is supposed to explain why every time Simon shows his face itís somebody different under the mask. His face magically changes and continuously shifts so you can never tell what he truly looks like. Are we to assume that this dark, power-hungry cult created Simon to, oh, I donít know be their assassin who continuously shifts identities so no one can finger him for a murder? Sure seems that way but all anyone would have to do is tear open or off his clothes and see that patchwork body of his and theyíd know there suspect was a surgical nightmare even if they couldnít place his face! Look for that messed up body people! This origin scene is unsatisfying because it doesnít really give us anything to chew on. We know heís the product of science and sorcery but we still donít know the where and who even though Simon does! Then thereís this thing about a book with all the answers that Simon finds but heís interrupted by hooded assassins before he can open it and we can get some more answers. Books seem to play heavily into Simonís story ďsomehowĒ but again, nothing is really explained as to why. Finally, we get back to the demon-possessed soap. All that made me think is that Niles and Hampton need to clean up their act but frankly at least for me I think itís too late.

Final Word: This series started out with a lot of potential in my book but in the execution it is sorely lacking. What was an initially intriguing ride has just become a frustrating gridlock of a story.



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