“Whenever a case that seemingly involves supernatural reaches NBI, it is automatically assigned to Agents Roddy, Nick and Janet. Cases from the Dark Side, they call them.
And the three were known as ‘The Shadowcatchers’ because they chases suspects that, just like shadows, could not be arrested.”
I think I’ve put off reading (and writing about) this series long enough. But can you blame a guy? Dark Side takes a very solid premise and turns it into a bland melodrama with the suspense of a television ad for a detergent. And that might even be an insult to the detergent ad.
But, to be fair, Dark Side isn’t completely bad. It’s just bland. The melodrama, if pushed into the right way, could’ve worked for the story. Unfortunately, I guess due to the length of the graphic novel, there’s not enough time for the drama to be pushed–the right way, or otherwise.
And then there are the characters: two men and one woman who seem to have the same base personality, with little to no difference between them. Which is a feat, considering one of them is a girl. Now, I know what I said about the length. This is actually one of the reasons why I put off writing about the series. I waited until I’ve read the second book as I might be able to judge the characters better if I already had an idea of who they were. I still didn’t, but heck, I thought, let’s still give this book a chance.
A sixth of the way through, I assigned voices to the characters. I read their lines out loud. I wanted to see if delivery could differentiate them. On the pages where it’s not clear where the dialogue is stemming from? I kept giving the lines the wrong voice, and not even realizing that I was doing it wrong until I finally realized how the dialogues were pointing at the characters speaking. Our three protagonists had no personality of their own! How are we supposed to root for a group whose members we can’t even recognize!
And then, there’s the actual cases. Whereas in Trese, each reveal feels like a treat while pushing the plot to new and unexpected places; the same cannot be said for Dark Side. When twists happen, you’re either left confused, or you’re congratulating yourself on successfully guessing where the story is going.
It’s one thing to be a smartly written story, it’s a completely different thing to try outsmarting your readers. And it’s really annoying when a story tries to outsmart a reader by cheating, by suddenly introducing a new rule, a new character, a new concept.
And that’s what I felt after reading the two Dark Side stories: cheated.