In what could be perceived as a stand alone tale, there is also the sense that this milestone issue for The Darkness reflects upon its past and throws it forward into a bleak future, yet one not without hope.
Writer Phil Hester seems to be enjoying himself more than usual in this issue, titled Absolute Darkness. Fans of the multitude of future X-Men stories will lap this stuff up, as will fans of The Darkness – obviously. This is the 75th issue of Jackie Estacado and his crazy adventures, if you consider all three volumes of this title since launching way back in 1996. That’s an event worth celebrating, and I have to say when the series debuted back in those wonder-filled days of the 90s I certainly didn’t expect it to last this long. I’m very happy to be proven wrong though. Over the decade it’s been published, it has gone from more than just a morose long haired hitman with evil powers book, to an engrossing world building epic.
This special anniversary issue basically sees Jackie peering into his future, or a possible future, as he begins to understand the powers he has could be devastating. The choice will be his. With cameos from familiar characters in the Darkness universe, Jackie is now an old man, with flowing grey hair and few friends. The world is a desolate place filled with the typical betrayals and battles that seem to follow Estacado wherever he goes.
I can’t really say much more than that, but regular readers of this title will get more out of it. However, fans of eye candy will certainly be pleased too. With issues like this, where different artists are brought on for the celebration, the wealth of pencillers can sometimes give the book a hodge podge feel. This isn’t the case here. With only a few pages to work with each artist brings their best, and scenes are wisely chosen for each of their strengths. From Matt Timson (Impaler) to Dale Keown (Hulk) to a host of others, your eyes are treated with a variety of styles; each one a thing of dynamic beauty.