Comic Book / The Darkness

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dkg5.jpg
And this is when he's NOT pissed off.

Jenny: What's this Darkness you keep going on about?
Sonatine: I'll try and put it in idiot's terms. Have you seen Star Wars?
Jenny: Well... yes.
Sonatine: The Darkness is the Force on crack.

What do you get when you cross a well-dressed mafia hitman with an ancient demonic power that gives him the ability to summon tiny foul-mouthed gremlin thingies to do his bidding?

A whole lot of badass, that's what.

The Darkness was one of Top Cow Productions' crown jewels of the 1990s' Darker and Edgier trend, created by Marc Silvestri, along with some assistance from Garth Ennis (who wrote the first comic arc) and David Wohl. The hitman in question is known as Jackie Estacado, adopted son of don Frankie Franchetti, and from the first few panels of the first issue, was obviously not disturbed by the lifestyle into which he had been brought, and actually relished it. However, as soon as his 21st birthday came to fruition, he inherited the evil known as the Darkness, which granted him abilities beyond his wildest blood-spattered dreams, the most infamous being the Darklings, the aforementioned little gremlin bastards that act somewhat as his multiple tiny alter-egos that are mostly interested in spouting off politically incorrect commentary and humor, but can disembowel an enemy at a moment's notice if Jackie commands it.

Jackie's enemies consisted of not only rival families, but other supernatural beings in the Top Cow Universe that had axes to grind with the Darkness itself, or just happened to cross paths with him at some point or another. Among them were Lara Croft, Witchblade and the Magdalena. His main foe was the Angelus, basically the antithesis of the Darkness, being a female entity and born of light, it wants to eradicate Jackie at any turn, and innocent casualties are of no concern to it.

The series itself has a pair of Video Games, as well as an upcoming Live-Action Adaptation that is on the fast track, which is being directed by The Pang Brothers, and rumored to be starring Channing Tatum as Jackie himself.

Not to be confused with The Darkness, the zany British hard rock band of the same name.

The comic series contains examples of:

  • Ambition Is Evil: Subverted in the third series' first arc where the Darkness says that Jackie's ambitions with his enhanced power are incredibly banal, amounting to being a petty dictator when he could have saved or conquered the world. It doubles as a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • And I Must Scream: Jackie threatens to seal an immortal murderer/meth-head in a septic tank for all eternity.
  • And Show It to You: Jackie once ripped out some dude's skeleton and showed it to him. Pop.
  • Anti-Hero: Jackie goes back and forth between this and Villain Protagonist. He's a horrible murderer who gets people killed via collateral damage but in the first Witchblade Crossover is genuinely horrified at the prospect of having killed an innocent man.
  • Appropriated Appellation: After knocking over a country, the citizens refer to Jackie as "Ocaso," Spanish for "sunset" or "decline."
  • Big Bad: Frankie, Paulie, Sonatine, The Sovereign, The Darkness, The Doppelgänger.
  • Big "NO!": When Jackie learns about the whole celibacy clause. Called into question somewhat when it turns out he can make his own fun.
  • Black and Gray Morality or Evil Versus Evil: Jackie is a merciless bastard whose only redeeming feature is love for his adoptive sister and a vague preference for being a stylized mobster; Drugs? Fun and profitable. Mass slaughter of rival families and/or cops? Fun and profitable. Killing someone outside of the business? No thanks.
    • Jackie bounces back and forth between being a comically psychopathic mass murderer versus a nuanced killer who is weary of all the killing.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Deconstructed. Jackie finds out that one of his random hits was the fiance of an FBI agent. When he discovers this, the murder suddenly deeply bothers him.
    • When Dr. Kim Fang was in medical school, and deeply in debt, she agreed to have sex with Jackie in return for settling it. Jackie does not remember the encounter, but it badly scared her, later resulting in her becoming a sex addict and needing therapy. When Jackie finds out he is disturbed by his actions and tries to make amends.
  • The Can Kicked Him
    random security mook: You may dump in peace.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: It is stated that if Jackie ever sires a child, he will die, making each and every one of his sexual encounters after he becomes the Darkness a game of Russian Roulette; even non-vaginal sex is an incredible risk as it's repeatedly stated that the Darkness is carried in his sperm meaning if one errant spurt could still kill him, a vasectomy would be quickly nullified by his enhanced healing, it's entirely possible that his blasted demon sperm could regenerate a woman with tubal ligation...
    ...You know of a form of contraception that is one hundred percent effective?
    • However, he's told that he can eventually create Artificial Humans as good as any woman - given enough time to practice his powers. Later it changed so that he will not die until the baby is born - evidenced in that his grandfather tried to kill his grandmother to prevent his own death.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The Darkness vs Dracula! This version of the Count is so badass that it dismisses Jackie and The Darkness as something below him and gets the better of Jackie in their brawl.
  • Creepy Child: "Miss Happy" from the crossover with Darkchydle, and the Legion of Cherub Hostile for a more malevolent version.
  • Crossover: Many. Witchblade, Magdalena, and Lara Croft (same universe), Wolverine (same writer), Ghost Rider, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Batman...
  • Cursed with Awesome: Played with a lot in the first comic story. After using the Darkness to take revenge on a rival mob boss, Jackie is cheerful about his awesome new powers. Then he learns about the celibacy clause, and immediately lapses into suicidal depression.
  • Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Or rather, 21st birthday...
  • Drink Order: Jackie is somewhat unique amongst his mafioso brethren in that he doesn't drink alcohol at all.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Jenny kicks Sonatine's ass.
  • Enfant Terrible: Jackie and Elle's "son."
    • The Legion of Cherub Hostile is an entire army of them. Granted of the Really 700 Years Old variety. One of Jackie's contracts for The Sovereign was also a child warlord.
  • Enforced Cold War: Paulie keeps Jackie under his control for a while with the threat that he would off the only family (Jenny) ever had.
  • Face Heel Door Slam: Jackie gets this one after a long redemption arc. He turns states evidence in on his Uncle Frankie only to need to run away from Witness Protection to save a stewardess' son from his mobster father. As a result, his Uncle gets out and promptly kills Jenny. Jackie KILLS HIMSELF in a suicide attack on Frankie only for the Darkness to raise him from the dead with the help of Lucifer. He also spent two days in hell, which felt like a million years.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Yeah, it's a comic book. No, it is most definitely not for kids.
  • Genre Shift: The first issues of the Darkness are more of a comedy action book than a horror action one. The characters were far more violent; and the dialogue was laced with Seinfeldian Conversation's and frequent references to pop culture. Furthermore the stories were more eccentric and quirky, standing in stark contract to the realism of later issues.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Jackie gets this, after a fashion, when he's sucked back into the mob after escaping it.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Jackie's Sexaholics Anonymous meeting proves counterproductive as he gets hit on by all the girls there.
    • Amusingly, all of them are blindingly beautiful sexpots while the lone male member is a huge fat guy.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A bit of a subversion in the Empire arc, where he tries to assure the girl with him that he isn't like the last dictator their country had and that "the rape-closets are closed" and that for various reasons he couldn't even if he wanted to. Doesn't really help her, since she's killed when the rebels attack.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: From the Empire arc:
    Darkling: It's been so long since I've had decent Italian.
  • Kill You Last
    Jackie: You know what? I'm starting to like you.
    Kirchner: But you're still going to kill me.
    Jackie: Oh, yeah.
  • Light Is Not Good: While the Darkness is just... the Darkness, its counterpart The Angelus is far, far worse. In one alternate future, it nukes the Earth with light to get rid of the Darkness.
  • Morality Chain: Jenny. Not that Jackie shows much restraint in the first place, but the series' flashbacks and flash-forwards go out of their way to demonstrate how excessively much worse a Darkness user could be. And then she's killed. Predictable things happen next.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: A mafia hitman with demonic powers, making him one of the most extreme examples.
  • Oh, Crap!: Probably too many to list individually:
    • A rival mob boss in The Can Kicked Him scene.
    • Paulie and his goons when Jackie comes for them.
    • The army guys when he smashes head-on into their helicopter.
    • ...and just about anyone about to be splattered all over the walls - which happens quite frequently...
  • Screw Yourself: Elle has elements of this. Jackie made her from the Darkness using himself as a template.
  • Take That!:
    • In one scene, the Magdalena holds up an Elmo doll (from Sesame Street) and asks what kind of sick and twisted mind could create such a thing. Subverted with the fact she's biding for time by saying something insane in hopes of distracting Jackie long enough to shoot him.
    • Jackie finds a Star Wars toy (Darth Vader) that says, "You don't know the power of the Dark Side." Annoyed, Jackie says it knows nothing and smashes it.
  • Taking You with Me: "I don't suppose you'd let me have One Last Smoke... Say, do you smell gasoline?"
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: As of the third volume, Jackie has eliminated no less than four entire crime families.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness:
    • After coming Back from the Dead, Jackie begins to hallucinate seeing his associates as rotting corpses.
    • In the game, this happens often in flashes so brief they are nearly subliminal, putting the player in the position of feeling like they are hallucinating. The first couple times it happens can result in throwing-the-joystick-and-screaming moments depending on how immersed in the game you are at the time...
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: In Issue #71, Jackie was attacked by The Witch in the Walls who tried to feed on his memories. Jackie's memories, those that included actions by and against him, were so horrendously vile that they actually poisoned and killed The Witch.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Even before a certain traumatic Freudian Excuse-worthy event Appolonia is displaying sociopathic behavior with her dolls... It becomes Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror when you realize that her father was probably molesting her, kissing her on the lips when she's comatose.
  • The Tunguska Event: ...was caused by a fight between the Darkness and the Angelus.
  • The Underworld: According to Danny Estacado, a previous host of the Darkness Entity, and Nick (who is actually the true Devil that religious stories of Lucifer and The Devil are all based on) all souls - whether they were good or evil in life - eventually fall into Hell. A rather disheartening side note is that there actually is a Heaven in the series but no human soul has ever been seen to enter it due to the fact only "beings of light" are allowed entrance.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Cousin Paulie sure did in the comics when Jackie unraveled his plans and cornered him. To say he didn't get it is an understatement.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Darkness' weakness is light.
    • In the comic, only daylight and its supernatural equivalent works, whereas in the video game, even a night light makes your powers fade. Justified, since 99% of the game takes place at night, and you'd be near unstoppable otherwise.
      • More recent comics have gone with the game's version, forcing Jackie to create special darkness-formed lights for his complex in Empire.
  • Weirdness Censor: "He's wearing some kind of (high tech) body armor" - the army guys when Jackie's manifesting the full demonic exoskeleton and Combat Tentacles.
    • Fridge Brilliance when you realize that this is the same universe as a bunch of cybernetic ninjas.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Comicbook/TheDarkness