Dark Ark is a 2017 comic book by Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe published under AfterShock Comics. In the Biblical times, God unleashed the Great Flood to wipe out the wickedness of man and tasked Noah with building an ark to save his family and the animals of the world. At the same time, Satan has commanded the sorcerer Shrae to build his own ark and save the monsters and unnatural creatures such as vampires, dragons, serpent-folk etc. However, this is not all of Shrae's mission: the Devil instructed him to ensure that Noah and his ark survive the Great Flood as well, just so that his own creatures can continue preying on mankind. If they do, he will relinquish control over his souls and allow them to ascend to Heaven, but if Shrae fails, then all the monsters aboard will devour him and his children, and they shall be damned to Hell. But with their own supplies running short, and the unruly passengers of the Dark Ark turning on each other, is Shrae even capable to keep his own family safe?
The first series was concluded with 15 issues and a second one titled After the Flood began in October 2019.
A one shot, Dark Ark: Instinct was released for 2020 Free Comic Book Day.
Dark Ark features examples of this trope:
- Angels, Devils and Squid: You have God's angels in one camp, Satan and his followers in another and the Dark Ark's monsters, who are under the latter's protection. It turns out the monsters were spawned by an even older evil, Echdina, who is a Mother of a Thousand Young and completely separate from the Devil.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Shrae finds out the unicorns weren't meant to be onboard the Dark Ark, he asks his master who could have possibly sneaked them without them knowing. The Devil himself is stunned by this implication and doesn't know how to answer it directly.
- The Atoner: What Shrae is attempting to achieve: if his mission is successful, he and his family will be freed from Satan's fealty.
- Anyone Can Die: Nobody is safe inside the Dark Ark, not even the monsters themselves are safe from each other with one of the leading monsters Maldroon dying in the first issue. Lampshaded by the Devil who admits that it's to be expected not all monsters will survive, he does hope enough survive to later plague mankind.
- Anti-Hero: The main protagonist is a Devil worshiper who has done many terrible things and is taking orders from Satan to safeguard a collection of monsters and keeps them fed with human prisoners. While he is also charged with protecting Noah and his ark as well to atone for his crimes and ensure his family is freed from darkness, its done so that the Devil's creatures can plague afterwards mankind when the Flood is over.
- Asshole Victim: One of the human prisoners aboard the Dark Ark was an woman who begged to be let inside with her child, but when Shrae denied her entrance as 'mercy,' (since he wouldn't let an innocent child be eaten alive by the monsters) she then begged for only her to be saved. He decides to let her in as punishment, with her only realizing what awaits her when it's too late.
- Bittersweet Ending: The first series concludes with the Dark Ark reaching it's destination, but Khalee ends up becoming a sorceress just like her father to rescue the survivors from the Fallen and has to sacrifice his life to do it. Many other casualties occur like Kruul's mate, Avvner, several monsters and Ada having become a vampire to save Selah's child. The surviving humans and monsters are now settled in a tense situation on the Fallen's residence waiting for Noah's Ark to arrive.
- Deal with the Devil: Khalee makes a deal with demons to give her dark magic to fight The Fallen and rescue her family. Shrae is very dismayed by this.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Nex the vampire is suspected of being Maldroon's killer because he is her rival. It turns out he is indeed the killer by turning one of the monsters into his thrall to kill Maldroon by proxy, and plan on leading his brood to attack the Dark Ark.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While Shrae has done many terrible things, he couldn't bear the thought of his family going to Hell with him when the Flood killed everyone.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Shrae is revolted by a mother who abandons her son to the rains to save herself, allowing her on the Dark Ark to be food for its inhabitants.
- Fallen Angel: The Dark Ark encounter a group of fallen angels, who are colloquially called The Fallen, residing on an island that survived the flood. These former angels are wingless, and have to speak in whispers because their voices can be heard by God's angels who will find them and hunt them down. The Fallen tries to kill the Dark Ark's passengers and harvest their blood, so they can preserve the sin and evil in case the world is wiped out again. The Fallen follow Hell's dark masters, but it soon turns out their masters are done with them for being rejects of the old world.
- Hero of Another Story: With the series taking place simultaneously with the Biblical Flood, Noah would qualify in regard to the narrative.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In a way; When Shrae's grandson is born a vampire after the mother was bitten by one of Nex's henchmen, an ritual is performed to cure the child. However, the price requires transferring the curse of vampirism to someone else and Shrae's wife Ada accepts the sacrifice, becoming a vampire to save her grandson.
- Human Sacrifice: The other human passengers aboard the Dark Ark are kept as food for the monsters to feed upon.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kruul doesn't like his mate and his newborn cub. He only cares about Janris to the point of protecting her from the other monsters and even Echidna. He also demanded Shrae to freeing Janris.
- Karmic Death: After Echidna attempts to eat the human passengers on the Dark Ark, she gets devoured by hordes of the undead human sinners led by Shrae.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Shrae is forced to do this to the unicorn pair because they would alert God's angels about the Dark Ark and destroy them.
- Mistaken Identity: A group of angels appear before the Dark Ark and mistake Shrae for Noah, who had prayed for their guidance. Shrae pretend to be Noah to keep the angels from knowing what the Dark Ark holds. This mistake also clue in Shrae that something bad is happening on Noah's Ark.
- Monster Mash: The inhabitants of the Dark Ark.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Echidna herself is reveal to be the leviathan that had been threatening Noah's ark. Much like in mythology, she is the mother of all monsters and her children utterly obeys her.
- The Mutiny: Inevitably ensues beginning with Nex leading his vampires to attack the Dark Ark and attempting to overthrow Shrae. Fortunately, Shrae quells the rebellion and punished Nex by chaining him to the bow of the ark.
- Noble Demon: The manticore Kruul is apparently fond of Janris and Khaalee, two of the human passengers of the ark and goes as far as attacking a Naga for threatening the latter. When some werewolves start to mutiny and plan on devouring Janris and the other slaves, Kruul jumps right in, slaying the mutineers. Kruul even went against Echidna when she threatened to eat Janris. After Echidna is dead, he demands Shrae to free Janris.
- No-Sell: Nex learns the hard way from drinking Shrae's blood, as the latter is a sorcerer who has made his blood poisonous to vampires.
- Our Angels Are Different: Angels are depicted as typical winged-humanoid beings made of golden light. They are also arrogant and uncaring towards humans and animals, and one of them even stating that they have no business in saving them from the Flood and that humans are relegated to that job instead.
- Our Manticores Are Spinier: Kruul and his mate are gigantic winged lions.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The most human-like in appearance of all monsters onboard, they fit the classical mold with pale skin and red eyes. They appear to be one of the top creatures on board since the manticores apparently answer to them.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Devil charged Shrae to protect Noah's ark because its inhabitants must thrive after the Flood, so that the monsters of the Dark Ark will have prey in the new world that awaits them.
- Rain of Blood: Shrae enchanted the rain with his own blood to defeat the vampires on the ark's deck, as his enchanted blood is fatal to vampires.
- Snake People: The naga lead by Matriarch Maldroon.
- Sssssnaketalk: The naga (half-human, half-serpent monsters) speak in this manner.
- Uncertain Doom: Nex at the end of the first volume. He is last seen having survived the battle with the Fallen, but Orin approaches him with a wooden stake in his hand and tell his girlfriend to look away. It's possible he may have Nex killed for having made his nephew a vampire and forcing his mother Ada to transfer his curse into herself.
- Unicorn: A pair of them is among the monsters and notably, they are the only creatures who aren't hostile to humans inside the Dark Ark. Turns out they were never supposed to be there in the first place and something may have sneaked them in without either Shrae or the Devil knowing it.
- Wham Shot: Shrae sends some scouts to Noah's Ark to find out what is troubling them. They find Noah feeding two giraffes to an enormous sea monster that is bedeviling the Ark.