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Complete The Dark Below by DarthPeezy - M - My Hero Academia

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by BottledEntropy, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. BottledEntropy

    BottledEntropy Muggle

    Joined:
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    Title: The Dark Below
    Author: DarthPeezy
    Rating: M
    Genre: Adventure/Horror
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: Other Fandoms
    Pairings: None
    Summary:
    Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/14572500/chapters/33674223

    Some of you may be turned away by the fairly cliched "Izuku actually has a Quirk" starting point, especially when that Quirk gives him quite a few benefits, but for me at least there are plenty of good things in the story to cancel that out. Despite Izuku's Quirk (he has the ability to access an alternate plane of existence/return from death via that plane, plus turn shadows into solid objects) being overpowered, it has effects and hard limits that prevent it from being world-breaking (he can only access it by dying [at least at first], non-fatal injuries can't be healed in that realm, time spent in that realm has clear psychological effects on him) and it's interesting watching him develop as a character as he gains more control over his Quirk and knowledge of this alternate plane, and the same can be said for the other two leads.

    I really liked some of the worldbuilding elements, especially regarding both the mechanics of the realm Izuku's Quirk allows him to access and the Imperial Household. The quotes at the beginning from in-universe reference materials wasn't exactly revolutionary, but it was a neat little touch that I enjoyed.

    The waypoints canon laid out are followed for a while, but the author changed enough of the events surrounding it that I ultimately didn't mind, and when the story fully broke off from canon a bit more than halfway through, it maintained its quality. Most of the characterization was fine, if not anything spectacular. However, I'd like to point out both Kurogiri and Endeavor as highlights. Kurogiri, despite being one of the most horrifying villains in a story full of them, had an interesting backstory that affected all his actions in a reasonable manner. Furthermore, while Endeavor is deeply flawed and far from a good person, he also has a depth I rarely see in MHA fanfics, which often just turn him into a one-dimensional monster.

    The fic had a few things I could see as turn-offs besides the initial premise. I didn't particularly care for Shouto's characterization, especially after he makes his deal with the godflame and more or less turns into a sociopath as a result; I honestly was expecting him to turn into a villain for a while. Once more, canon is the baseline for a bit more than half the fic, and considering the story is just shy of 700k words, that might be tough for some to get through. As another thing that might be a drawback for some, the story gets very, very dark at points (it has the 'grimdark' tag for a reason), and there are very few moments of levity or hope spots, especially in the final few arcs when the stakes get higher. While I was never bothered by that, I could see other people becoming disinterested as a result.

    Even with those drawbacks, I would rate this fic a solid 4.5/5. I doubt this fic is for everyone, but I'd personally recommend it to anyone who's into My Hero Academia and/or cosmic horror.
     
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