The Darkness is a series of comics produced by Top Cow Productions (TCP). The comic first appeared in 1996 and enjoyed an initial period of relative success during the TCP/Image Comics boom of the late 1990s. However, TCP were forced to "relaunch" the comic in 2002 after sales began to drop. The comic has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The series was created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl, other noted writers, including Paul Jenkins, have also worked on The Darkness.
In December 2004, Dimension Films paid an undisclosed six-figure sum to develop a possible movie based on the comic, planned for release in 2007. The comic was pitched as a similar movie to The Crow, which was also produced by Dimension.
In March 2005, The Darkness was licensed by Majesco for a console game, to be developed by Starbreeze Studios. It will be a first-person and third-person game for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 console systems.
2K Games has since obtained the rights to the console game. A May 2007 release is scheduled.
The comic's central theme is the power known as The Darkness, and its wielders. It is an ageless power dating back beyond human history. It is linked with the Angelus and the Witchblade. The Darkness is passed down a family line from father to son, leaving the previous user (and taking his life) as his first child is conceived. The power then manifests in the child on his 21st birthday. Darkness users can create anything they desire with The Darkness, even sentient beings, but anything they make will crumble to dust in the light. The Darkness Powers are quite deadly, allowing the user to call forth darkling minions to aid them, and even survive gunshots. The power can also be used to maul and feed on people.
The Darkness Powers do not function unless it is dark, but some users can also manipulate this by creating their own shadows/darkness e.g smoke grenades, being underground, turning off lights in a room, etc. Wherever there is light, there is always darkness.
Jackie Estacado is the current day wielder of The Darkness and don of the Franchetti Family mob. He is a very violent and sexual man who, until gaining the Powers of The Darkness, lived life in the fast lane. Of course, because of the possibility of impregnating a woman causing his own death through the mysterious ways of The Darkness, Jackie tries to refrain from sex, to his great frustration. Though Jackie lives life on the wrong side of the law and can kill without remorse, he has a high set of morals he follows and always tries to protect those he cares about.
Jackie joined the mob at a very early age, after being recruited by a mafia don named Frankie "Kill the Children too" Franchetti. He was picked up at the orphanage after Frankie was prompted by a mysterious stranger named Sonatine, who told Frankie that having Jackie around would bring him tremendous power. Jackie came to the mafia life easily, losing his virginity to a female police officer over the interrogation desk at 14. He grew up, or more accurately matured, very quickly, and soon and enjoyed the life of sex and violence. However, when he turned 21, his dark Powers awakened, and he learned of his evil inheritance. At first, this power was a blessing, allowing his job as a professional hitman to run more smoothly and work in more unique ways. However, with this power came many enemies. Early on, Jackie spent much of his time escaping from or fighting the Angelus (who wants to kill him), and Sonatine and his Brotherhood of The Darkness (who wish to capture him and steal his Powers). Eventually, Jackie chose to quit the mob, but found it easier said than done. Jackie had turned on his adoptive father and mafia don, Frankie Frenchetti, to get a clean slate and exit from his life of crime after a meeting with Batman (Batman/Darkness crossover). However, after Jackie's "uncle" Frankie kidnapped Jenny, a childhood friend of Jackie's, Frankie Franchetti killed her and sent a videotape to Estacado in revenge. Jackie could not take this and called out Franchetti's mob, leading them to an abandoned warehouse covered in gasoline. When the crew arrived to kill Estacado, Jackie threw down his lighter and blew the place, and all its occupants, to bits [Darkness (vol. 1) #40]. Jackie spent an undetermined amount of time afterward wandering around hell, searching for Jenny, until Tom Judge came and gave him hope (a gift that allows men to exit hell) [Universe #3]. Jackie's body was then reconstructed by The Darkness, which managed to hide away in a tooth cavity [Darkness (vol. 2) #1].
Jackie returned to find the Franchetti mob taken over by Frankie's cousin, Paulie. Paulie was able to discover Jackie's secret as well as a long-lost sister of Jenny's. Using this information, Paulie blackmailed Jackie into doing hits for him. Along the way, Jackie learned how to construct a gun out of The Darkness. Later, Jackie discovered a hitman following Jenny's sister, killed him, and took his revenge on Paulie as well. This led to Jackie taking control of the Franchetti family. Since taking control of the Franchetti family, Jackie has vastly expanded his mafia, taken on the Triads, and fought the Russian Mafia in Atlantic City.
Over the course of the series, Jackie makes uneasy alliances with Sara Pezzini and both versions of The Magdalena.
Powers and Abilities
The Powers of The Darkness allow Jackie to make just about anything he can think of: he has created things like tentacles, which are very strong and can lift a full-grown man, and later on, he is able to make a gun out of The Darkness. He's also able to summon minions called Darklings, which rip his enemies apart in packs and which come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. It is also possible that The Darkness may enhance Jackie's strength, durability and speed, but only while The Darkness is working. In one instance, Jackie dove off a converted oil rig and swam down until there wasn't any light. At this point, he was able to utilize The Darkness to cover his body and transform into his armor, enabling him to breathe underwater. This could also presumably used to survive a poisonous gas, but this has not been proven as yet. Also, Jackie is very skilled at killing in many different forms. He uses many different guns, his favorite being 9mm pistols, but he also uses other guns as well and is also good at hand-to-hand combat.
Other Darkness Users
The Darkness has been around for at least a few millennia and thusly has been used by many men. A lot of these other users can be seen in the mini-series, Tales of The Darkness. In one instance, the Powers of The Darkness were siphoned from Jackie by Ian Nottingham. One of the most well known users outside of Jackie has been the pirate Captain Estacado, who was the main character of Ron Marz's The Darkness: Black Sails. In the one-shot comic Darkness Infinity, present day Earth is destroyed by The Darkness, and in the distant future, an alien race discovers the remains of the planet, and a space shuttle on the moon, which, according to the shuttle's records, was in orbit of Earth when the planet was destroyed. Apparently, after the Earth was destroyed, The Darkness began looking for a new host, and found the crew of the shuttle, which it possessed, until the crew killed each other. The alien newcomers were the first to discover the Earth, and therefore the first opportunity The Darkness had to inhabit a new host. The comic ends with The Darkness possessing the captain of the ship, and taking off to cause destruction throughout the galaxy, as The Darkness has done for millennia, on thousands of inhabited planets.
Other Appearances of The Darkness
Jackie Estacado has appeared in crossover storylines involving Painkiller Jane, The Hulk, Batman, and Superman, Aliens, Predator, Witchblade, Wolverine, and Tomb Raider. These are non-canonical for the crossover heroes, but at least the Batman crossover is canonical for The Darkness, as the events in this crossover are later referred to and have repercussions in The Darkness comic. Possible reference to The Darkness may be found in the story of 2006 movie The Covenant.
The writer and editor, Ann Nocenti, claims that she was hired to write a treatment and first issue for the comic, but was never paid or credited for her published work.
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