Written by Darren G. Davis and Drawn by Renato Arlem and Sean Murphy
Published by
Bluewater Comics

Zak Raven seems to have it all. He’s a successful attorney rising quickly through the ranks at his firm. He’s making good cheddar. He’s good looking and can count on his choice of women. But all that goes down the drain one day when he’s given a brutal diagnosis by his doctor: he’s HIV positive. Feeling like his life is over, he jettisons his practice and takes off for the high seas, emotionally destroyed. But his life isn’t over- far from it. Not even when his boat on an uncharted island. No, this island has secrets of its own- strange creatures, mysterious caves, and a population that doesn’t seem to want him to leave there alive. And that’s just when he begins to find the will to survive his disease…

LOST RAVEN is an interesting graphic novel with a lot going for it; Zak himself is a complex character, and his reaction to his diagnosis feels like a fair and honest one. And while it’s a fairly standard trope to strand someone in an odd environment to help them learn how to regain their lust for life, Davis pulls that off reasonably well here. He also gets some decent support from Renato Arlem in chapter one of the graphic novel, as Arlem delivers some terrific art. Sean Murphy finishes off the book, and his stuff is okay, but it suffers a bit in comparison to the beginning of the book.

There are a couple of issues on the story end. The purpose behind the island, and the occupants, aren’t fleshed out enough to make you really care about their mission and their reasons for wanting to make sure Zak doesn’t live to tell anyone about the place. There’s also a moment that seems like pure foreshadowing that goes nowhere, when Zak takes a chunk out of his back while moving through a cave and leaves quite a bit of his infected blood behind- that point needed some elaboration or to be excluded completely because it distracted from the rest of the scene.

Overall, though, I’d read more about the adventures of Zak Raven, HIV-positive attorney. This was a solid debut graphic novel and there’s quite a large window for a sequel.

Marc Mason