The Darkness (comics)
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The Darkness. Art by Marc Silvestri
|Publisher||Top Cow Productions|
|First appearance||Witchblade #10 (Nov. 1996)|
|Created by||David Wohl
|Alter ego||Jackie Estacado|
|Notable aliases||Chaos, Creation, Cursed Soul, Black Captain, Prince of Darkness, Antichrist, Dark Wyrm, Dark One, Dragon of the Desert, Shadow God, El Ocaso, Darkman, Demonic Goblin|
|Abilities||Access to an otherworldly dimension and telepathic control over the demons who dwell there
Mystical armor that grants superhuman strength, speed, stamina and flight
Accelerated healing factor
Skilled martial artist
The Darkness is an American comic book series published by Top Cow Productions. The series was created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl. The Darkness is the story of Mafia hitman Jackie Estacado, who, on his 21st birthday, became the bearer of the Darkness, an elemental force that allows access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the demons who dwell there.
Fictional character biographies
||This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (March 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The Darkness is an ancient living power dating back to beyond human history and reaching back to the beginning of the universe as well as the creation of mankind. The Darkness is depicted as a masculine spirit of chaos as well as one of the two primal forces of the universe alongside his feminine celestial counterpart, the Angelus. The Darkness was cast aside as the preeminent force of primordial Creation when God allowed the light of the Angelus to pierce into chaos, igniting a cosmic war between the Darkness and the Angelus while Creation expanded and took form around them.
At some point during their eternal conflict, the Darkness as well as the Angelus agreed to a truce to avert their mutual destruction. To cement this truce as well as to ensure its lasting perseverance, the two primordial beings consummated; resulting in the conception of the Witchblade. The Witchblade served as the balance between these two fundamentally opposed deities, keeping both the infernal darkness of chaos as well as the celestial light of order at bay and harmoniously synchronized to ensure the lasting stability and harmony of Creation while maintaining their presence and necessity in the order of the universe.
At an unspecified time following the birth of the Witchblade, the Darkness began seeking a vessel within human bloodlines. The Darkness has virtually always chosen depraved bloodlines of criminals and warlords to insure that vessels remained in positions of worldly power. The Darkness has been present in every generation of history, including Ancient Greece and Spain. The power of the Darkness remains dormant within the host until reaching the moment of his 21st birthday. Upon reaching adulthood, the Darkness manifests and the vessel becomes endowed with the powers and vulnerabilities of the Darkness as well as his purpose in Creation.
The Darkness bestows his vessel with several powerful abilities approaching those of a demigod. Chief among these abilities is the power to manifest a virtually indestructible mystical armor which affords the wielder superhuman strength, speed and stamina alongside the ability of shape-shifting to change his appearance (including transforming into a dragon-like beast) or summoning wings for flight as well as blades, tentacles or claws in battle. The armor also provides protection from inhospitable environments such as outer space or underwater. The Darkness also affords a potent accelerated healing factor capable of restoring whole damaged or even lost tissue.
Beyond the armor, the Darkness allows his wielders access to an otherworldly dimension of shadows home to a countless legion of powerful demons known as Darklings. Darklings come in various shapes ranging from the typical impish form to humanoid to animalistic to serpentine or winged and draconian or cthonic. The wielder can control and communicate with them through telepathy. Darklings possess similar superhuman abilities as the wielder, although to a lesser degree as they are subservient to the wielder. Both the wielder and the Darklings can teleport through the shadows and adhere barehanded to surfaces such as walls and ceilings.
Jackie Estacado is the current wielder of the Darkness and a former hitman for the Franchetti Family mob. He is a very violent and sexual man who, though he lives life on the wrong side of the law and can kill without remorse, has a strict set of morals and a fierce loyalty. The only thing keeping him from being purely evil is his true love, Jenny Romano, and his love for his daughter, Hope.
Jackie was born in 1981 in New York City and joined the Mafia at the age of 6 after being adopted by Mafia crime boss Frankie Franchetti, who was told by a mysterious stranger named Sonatine that Jackie's presence in his mob would make Frankie powerful. Jackie came to the Mafia life easily, making his first hit at 16. His actions within the mob contributed to Franchetti becoming the most powerful don in the city.
When he turned 21, his dark powers awakened and he learned of his evil heritage. Jackie spent much of his time escaping from or fighting the Angelus, Sonatine, and the Brotherhood of the Darkness. Jackie tried to quit the mob, but Frankie kidnapped and killed Jenny, a childhood friend of Jackie's. Jackie, in a warehouse showdown with Franchetti's crew, blew up the warehouse, killing Frankie and burning Jackie alive.
Jackie spent two days afterward wandering around Hell while searching for Jenny until Tom Judge came and gave him hope, a gift that allows men to exit Hell. Jackie's body was then reconstructed by the Darkness.
Jackie returned to find the Franchetti mob taken over by Frankie's cousin, Paulie. Paulie was able to discover Jackie's secret, and Paulie blackmailed Jackie into doing hits for him. Along the way, Jackie learned how to construct a gun out of the Darkness. Later, Jackie turns on Paulie and takes control of the Franchetti family, eventually taking on the Triads, and fighting the Russian Mafia in Atlantic City.
After a confrontation with the Angelus, Jackie abandoned the Mafia life and fled to a place called Sierra Muñoz in hope of establishing a new empire there. Jackie established a drug cartel in Sierra Muñoz with a Darkness-based narcotic made from his own bodily fluids, built an impenetrable fortress, and formed an army. The residents of Sierra Muñoz resisted Jackie's takeover with the help of the U.S. Department of Defense, which wanted to capture Jackie for experimentation and to learn about his armor. Jackie lost his battle with the army and was captured.
Jackie learned that during a battle with the Darkness, his soul was cast into Hell, leaving his body on Earth. He made a deal with a devil who calls himself the Sovereign, who promises, in return for a number of assassinations, to reunite Jackie's body and soul. Jackie fulfills the Sovereign's demands, including killing a demonically possessed nun, an immortal drug dealer, and surviving an encounter with a dream-stealing witch in Mexico. Eventually, while performing an assassination in Egypt, Jackie comes across a mysterious woman wearing a red ribbon who seems to lure him. He also meets a past Darkness wielder named Aram, also known as the Foreigner, who explains that the Sovereign has been manipulating Jackie from the start and that both his soul and the Darkness are still within him, merely repressed by his will and desire to be free of the Darkness's influence.
Ignoring the Foreigner, Jackie follows the woman and finds himself facing against a resurrected Djinn created by a shaman specifically to kill Darkness wielders. Finding the Djinn to be virtually invincible, Jackie is guided to strangle the woman to death with her own ribbon, breaking the curse of the Djinn and freeing the woman from her eternal servitude. Jackie is confronted by Aram, who further intimidates him into finally summoning the full power of the Darkness once again. Aram disappears, leaving Jackie with the realization of the Sovereign's manipulations and fully intent on revenge with full control of his powers.
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- A female spirit who is the source of all radiance and order, the Angelus is the equal and opposite of the Darkness. She has no regret or guilt and thrives on gaining vengeance over the Darkness. Like the Darkness, the Angelus requires a human vessel to exist in corporeal form. However, unlike the Darkness, she completely subjugates the host's personality. Additionally, the Angelus does not run in bloodlines; she passes from body to body, inhabiting a single woman for an indefinite period of time until the woman is killed, at which point the spirit seeks out a new vessel. The abilities of the Angelus are similar to those of the Darkness; both possess superhuman powers of strength and regeneration, can fly, and can create constructs from their respective elements. The Angelus's powers are weakened in low-light environments. The angelic servants of the Angelus are called Angelus Warriors.
- The leader of the Brotherhood of the Darkness, Sonatine was a power-hungry man with ambitions of world domination. He was an inquisitor during the Spanish Inquisition. He was killed by Jackie but managed to transfer his spirit into another body, then left that body and descended into the realm of the Darkness. He was slain once more when Jackie plunged the Sun Dagger into the Heart of the Darkness. He held some measure of Darkness powers, which allowed him to live for centuries without aging. He carried with him a magical talisman that gives him the power of mind control and also emits light strong enough to ward off Darklings. His other abilities include casting illusions, teleporting, and transferring his spirit into another body.
- The daughter of Don Frankie Franchetti and Lauren Franchetti, Appollonia was responsible for the Angelus's return. After unsuccessfully trying to overthrow the Franchetti family, Appolonia was left in a coma and was brought out of it with a fragment from the Spear of Destiny, the Magadalena's weapon. Appolonia appeared to be in league with the Angelus, setting up Jackie, but in reality betrayed the Angelus when the latter was about to kill Magdalena and Jackie. Appolonia killed her mother, the Angelus's host, with the Spear of Destiny.
- The Magdalena is descended from Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. The first Magdalena introduced was Sister Mariella, a wild Christian fanatic, who was sent to battle Jackie. She was left for dead, but recovered, only to battle the Angelus and again be left for dead. Afterwards, Patience, the current Magdalena, is sent out to attack the Darkness, and Jackie and the Angelus both mistake her for Mariella. Jackie saves her and the Angelus flees.
- The Sovereign is a human-turned-archdemon and was once a Roman king over 2,700 years ago. He and his family were slain by a wielder of the Darkness. He tricked an angel into letting him out of Hell and made a deal with the authorities of Hell in order to obtain a privileged position as a keeper of damned souls and as a lord of a corner of Hell itself, all so he could exact vengeance over the Darkness both for the fall of his kingdom and the deaths of himself and his family. The Fates bound his soul after death to the many idols made in his image as a means of ironic punishment for his vanity, robbing him of his flesh and therefore his ability to partake in Earthly pleasures.
- Aram, also known as the Foreigner, was a Witch-King who lived in ancient Africa. He was a wielder of the Darkness who used his powers to slay entire armies of his opponents and to conquer nations. At some point, he used his natural magic to drive the Darkness out of his body without killing himself in the process. The Darkness cursed Aram with eternal life and condemned him to wander the Earth for all time. Aram spent the next 10,000 years as a simple witch. At some point he met the Sovereign and defeated him and also slew the Djinn that was created to kill wielders of the Darkness.
- Jackie has a twin sister named Capris Castiglione. The two were separated when they were babies. She was raised in an orphanage by Father Brendan, who treated her as if she was his own daughter. When Father Brendan was dying, he revealed Capris's past and her twin brother to her. She met a Native American by the name of Robert Bearclaw who taught her how to use the limited Darkness powers that she inherited from her father. Five years later, Capris sought out and killed the men responsible for a friend's death. When she met her brother, Jackie, for the first time, she told him where the Angelus was holding Frankie, and then disappeared.
- Capris made her last appearance in the Outer Darkness storyline, where it was revealed that she had become fully seduced by the euphoric power of the Darkness and had been training and perfecting her powers. The Darkness chose her to be his new host and used her to try to kill Jackie. She attacked and overpowered him with her superior powers and would have killed him if not for Aram using his last bit of magic to shut down the Darkness. Jackie killed Capris using a magical crystal glove given to him by Aram. She is last seen as a damned soul in a strange afterlife for Darkness-wielders.
The series has been collected into a series of trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1 (1996–2001):
- Coming of Age (176 pages, collects The Darkness preview and The Darkness #1-6, 1998, ISBN 1-58240-032-6)
- Ultimate Collection (352 pages, collects The Darkness #1-6 and #40, Volume 2 #1-6, 2007, ISBN 1-58240-780-0)
- Heart of Darkness (144 pages, collects The Darkness #7-8, 11-14, 2001, ISBN 1-58240-205-1)
- Spear of Destiny (106 pages, collects The Darkness #15-18, 2000, ISBN 1-58240-147-0)
- Original Sin (166 pages, collects The Darkness #15-25, 2005, ISBN 1-58240-459-3)
- Flesh and Blood (464 pages, collects The Darkness #26-39, October 2005, ISBN 1-58240-538-7)
- Compendium (1280 pages, collects The Darkness #1-40, Tales of the Darkness #1-4 and Darkness: Wanted Dead, December 2006, ISBN 1-58240-643-X, November 2007, ISBN 1-58240-801-7)
- Origins Volume 1 (176 pages, collects #1/2-06, ISBN 978-1-60706-097-0)
- Origins Volume 2 (176 pages, collects #07-10, Witchblade issues #18-19, ISBN 978-1-60706-103-8)
- Origins Volume 3 (208 pages, collects #11-18, ISBN 978-1-60706-208-0)
- Origins Volume 4 (176 pages, collects #19-25, ISBN 978-1-60706-549-4)
- Volume 2 (2002–2005):
- Resurrection (176 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 1 #40, Volume 2 #1-6, 2004, ISBN 1-58240-349-X)
- Demon Inside (272 pages, collects The Darkness #7-16 and Darkness: Wanted Dead, January 2007, ISBN 1-58240-646-4)
- Depths Of Hell (224 pages, collects The Darkness #17-24, September 2007, ISBN 1-58240-795-9)
- The Darkness Vs. Eva - Daughter of Dracula (104 pages, collects The Darkness Vs. Eva #1-4, 2008, ISBN 1-933305-85-1)
- Top Cow/Marvel: The Crossover Collection Vol. 1 (304 pages, collects Devil's Reign #1-8, Wolverine/Witchblade, The Hulk/The Darkness, ISBN 978-1-58240-533-9)
- DC/Top Cow Crossovers (200 pages, collects The Darkness/Batman, The Darkness/Superman, JLA/Cyberforce & JLA/Witchblade, ISBN 978-1-4012-1338-1)
- Unholy Union (Marvel Comics crossover: featuring the Hulk, the Darkness, Ghost Rider, Witchblade, & Dr. Strange).
- First Born (160 pages, First Born #0-3, ISBN 978-1-58240-854-5)
- Broken Trinity (208 pages, Broken Trinity #1-3, The Darkness one-shot, Angelus one-shot, Witchblade one-shot, ISBN 978-1-60706-051-2)
- Compendium 2 (collects The Darkness #41-89, The Darkness: Lodbrok's Hand one-shot, The Darkness: Shadows And Flame one-shot, The Darkness: Butcher one-shot)[ISBN missing]
- Volume 3 (2008-2012):
- Accursed: Volume 1 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #1-6, September 2008, ISBN 1-58240-958-7)
- Accursed: Volume 2 (140 pages, collects The Darkness #7-10, 75 October 2009, ISBN 1-60706-044-2)
- Accursed: Volume 3 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #76-79 and Tales of the Darkness: Lodbrok's Hand one-shot, June 2010, ISBN 1-60706-100-7)
- Accursed: Volume 4 (172 pages, collects The Darkness #80-84 and The Darkness: Shadows and Flame one-shot, December 2010, ISBN 1-60706-194-5)
- Accursed: Volume 5 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #85-89, November 2011, ISBN 1-60706-216-X)
- Accursed: Volume 6 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #90-95, March 2012, ISBN 1-60706-495-2)
- Accursed: Volume 7 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #96-100, April 2012, ISBN 1-60706-517-7)
- Rebirth (2012-2013)
- Rebirth: Volume 1 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #101-105, September 2012, ISBN 1-60706-585-1)
- Rebirth: Volume 2 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #106-111, April 2013, ISBN 1-60706-672-6)
- Progeny (160 pages, collects Artifacts #25-26, Witchblade #164-165, and The Darkness #111, August 2013)[ISBN missing]
- Rebirth: Volume 3 (160 pages, collects The Darkness #112-116, February 2014, ISBN 1-60706-806-0)
In other media
In December 2004, Dimension Films paid an undisclosed six-figure sum to develop a movie based on the comic, with a planned release for 2008. The film rights were later sold to the Pang brothers in December 2005.
At Comic-Con 2009, Top Cow president Matt Hawkins revealed that a live-action The Darkness film was in development, with Scott Stuber Productions attached as the producer for the project. In 2012, Len Wiseman signed on to produce the movie.
- The Darkness vol. 2, #1
- Universe #3
- Darkness vol. 3 #1
- The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 2
- The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 1
- The Darkness vol. 2, #23
- The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 3
- SuperHeroHype (2004-12-06). "Dimension Films Enters The Darkness". SuperHeroHype. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- IGN FilmForce (2005-12-01). "Pang Brothers Eyeing Darkness". IGN. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
- "The Darkness sequel uncloaked - Report". GameSpot. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
- Adam Chitwood (2012-07-09). "Exclusive: Regency in Talks to Develop THE DARKNESS Comic Adaptation with Producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman; Len Wiseman Would Also Produce". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
- "The Darkness - PlayStation 3 - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
- "The Darkness - Xbox 360 - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
- "The Darkness II Review - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
- The Darkness (1996–2001) at the Grand Comics Database
- The Darkness (1996–2001) at the Comic Book DB
- The Darkness (2002–2005) at the Grand Comics Database
- The Darkness (2002–2005) at the Comic Book DB
- Duben, Alex (26 September 2007). "WIZ LA '07: THE TOP COW PANEL". COMICON.com. Retrieved 10 August 2016.