Dark Nebula 12 – Putting Theory Into Chaos

The Dark Nebula #12 reviewed by Steve Saul October 25, 2023

Right – Where Were We?

Editor’s note: the following has been redacted to prevent our over-enthusiastic reviewer giving away too much of the plot. Want to know those vital details? Buy the book!

Readers will recall that Dark Nebula #11 finished with not one but two cliffhangers as our two protagonists found themselves flung through time in a neat reversal of the events of Dark Nebula #3 and #4. Each was then confronted with the consequences of the other’s previous visit. And so, as heroes do, they began to put right that which had been put awry – before being stopped in their respective tracks by the dreaded “wait till next issue”.

And Here We Are

Dark Nebula #12 begins with a quick recap of all that went before – and that’s a lot! In brief, Cerellus seems to have perished, with Mark Medula’s ancestral family, in a fiery horse-and-carriage crash (yes, that can be a thing!) while being hunted as witch-spawn in (of course) historical Salem, Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Mark has met his descendant (and bearer of his powers) in an all-female future dystopia. They are preparing to join forces and hope for the best. No, wait. Let me put that a bit more positively. They are combining their powers and trusting in the power of the Dark Nebula.

End of recap. Read on.

We return first to the past, finding that –------------- ----------------------------- ----------------------------- ----------------------- ---------------------- ------ --------------- ----------------------------------. To save ----------------- --------- -------------------------------- -------------- ------------------- --------------- ------------------- ------------------- ----------------------, Cerellus arranges ------ --------------- ------------ ---------- on the path that leads to the our hero --------------- ----------- ------------- --- ----------------------------. His work done, Cerellus fades from the past and our focus shifts to…

The future. Location unspecified. Mark and his distant descendant have joined forces in a world where men are but a memory. Wielding the power of not one but two Dark Nebulae, Mark and his young descendant seek to undo the damage wrought by Chaos while some very restless natives seek to destroy them. Resolution of a sort comes in the form of ---------------------- ----- ------- -------------------------------------------- -- ---- -------------------- ---------------------- ------------- ------------------ ------------ And so, ---------------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ --------------------- ---------- ------------------ , Mark in turn fades and is transported to…

The realm of Chaos. Showdown time. --- ------------ -- ----- --- ------- -------, Chaos now confronts his nemeses for the final clash. And this is where the fun really starts. We are treated to several pages of action as the creators let the pictures tell the story, with just enough dialogue to let the story flow.

And flow it does. All the way to a final resolution. And then a moment or two to breathe before the seed is planted and appetites are whetted for future excitement.

Panels, Captions and Balloons

Once again, as with his previous works, Tad Pietrzykowski carries the torch for little used gems of the Australian vernacular in this tale. On this occasion, “ton of bricks”, “friggin’”, “tits-up” and an interesting variation on “skewiff” get their moment in the sun. As has been said before, these verbal nuggets of nostalgia, together with a laid-back, laconic style and a cheekily irreverent manner in paying homage to past creators (great and great-adjacent), provide a relaxed and familiar reading experience.

The artwork by Shane Foley again matches the ebb and flow of the narrative. From fast-paced action to mighty battles; from the cosmic to the intimate; Foley’s choice of panel size and layout meld expertly with dialogue and exposition to provide the sort of balanced graphic storytelling that sometimes seems a dying art. As in previous issues, this is aided by scripter Pietrzykowski and letterers Pietrzykowski and Dave de Vries providing just the right balance of word to pictures. Homages both visual and verbal feature again but this time, I will leave the reader to find and savour them.

Meanwhile, Back in the Golden Age...

Rounding out this issue is the now obligatory short piece featuring the Golden Age Southern Cross, a supernatural espionage thriller in the grand old Golden Age style.

Written and drawn by Dave de Vries (who also provides the lettering), this piece is inked by Glen Lumsden, ensuring stylistic continuity with the instalments previously pencilled by Lumsden. Together, they bring us a fast-paced, nostalgic piece where action trumps introspection. A good, fun read to wrap up the issue.

A Dark Age is Upon Us

He’s been a long time gone but the Dark Nebula seems to be back for a while to come. As old plot threads are revisited, wrapped up or expanded on, past readers will rekindle memories while new readers sample the joys of spending time with relatable, Australian characters and locales. These last few issues can be seen as re-establishing the foundations. With future plans for this title as well as some very interesting crossovers in progress, Australia’s first modern superhero continues to grow stronger and reach higher.

Story: The Chaos Theory
Writer/s: Tad Pietrzykowski
Artist/s: Shane Foley
Inker/s: Shane Foley
Colourist/s: N/A
Letterer/s: Tad Pietrzykowski, Daves de Vries

Story: Beware the Baron
Writer/s: Dave de Vries
Artist/s: Dave de Vries & Alex Granchia
Inker/s: Glenn Lumsden
Colourist/s: N/A
Letterer/s: Dave de Vries

Cover Artist/s:
Cover A – Frantz Kantor
Cover B – Shane Foley
Cover C –  Shane Foley
Cover D – Leigh Chalker

Rating: 4/5


Brought up on a diet of Disney comics, Thunder Birds and 1970s Saturday morning cartoons, Steve has been a comics fan proper since the mid '70s - first with Marvel comics; then later with EC and the wonderful independents of the '80s. After a spell of more than 20 years in which the collecting habit never fully left, he's back - and looking to explore the Aussie scene, old and new.

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