Thursday, February 16, 2017

Superhero Media: The Darkness - Origins

Sadly, The Darkness is not a graphic novel about a comedic British rock band, but is instead a quintessentially '90s indy comic with a ridiculous protagonist and sub-par artwork. Jackie Estacado is a handsome, sophisticated, sociopathic mob enforcer with a heart of gold and a thing for beautiful and stupid women. On the night of his 21st Birthday, Jackie is awakened to the power of The Darkness; a primordial force of power and destruction that turns the wielder into a living God on Earth. Soon, Jackie is caught between the armies of Heaven and the machinations of a sinister cult that wish to use The Darkness for their own ends. What is the power that Jackie wields? He can do anything he can imagine, so long as that imagining involves daemons, devils and Bacon-esque horror

Yeah, this comic isn't great, by any measure. The artwork is busy, the characters are shallow and the story is bland. Nothing really comes of the character being powered by "evil" except for his enemies being lesbian bondage angels (no, really), and ineffectual cultists hounding him for a little while. I was shocked when I saw that Garth Ennis had written The Darkness, as it had none of his characteristic "social commentary", though I saw he had the space for a castration joke, which is typical for his under-edited work. The closest moment that Darkness comes to character is when he learns that he can't have sex (the powers are passed down at the moment of conception and the current wielder dies), the narrative makes a big deal of this because of a childhood flame and it seems that the powers finally come with a cost. However, this only lasts one comic before it is discovered that the powers can be used to make impossibly-hot daemon slave whores.

Although I'm something of an apologist for '90s comics, I really can't get anything other than ire up for The Darkness. It focuses on the worst trends of the decade to create a forgettable character that doesn't go anywhere new. The character design is busy, but at least it uses a decent colour palate, I actually had a Darkness Indy Clix, but I turned him into an Archo-Flagellant for Inq28. Not much more to say on this one, a bad comic typical of an era thought to be the worst for the medium. 

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