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The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain #1

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The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain #1

Credits

  • Words: Randy Queen
  • Art: Randy Queen
  • Inks: Sarah Queen
  • Colors: Sarah Queen
  • Publisher: Top Cow Productions/Image Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: May 26, 2010

The Darkness/Darkchylde: Kingdom Pain offers fans something we haven’t seen in a long time.  I’m not sure if there’s an official term for it, but this comic mixes violence, horror, fantasy, and humor in just the right proportions.  It’s very much like early Spawn or Darkness comics, before they started leaning heavily on the serious noir and graphic horror aspects of the characters.  Randy Queen’s art and writing keep true to the mischievous nature of the characters, which makes for a dark but humorous story.

Randy Queen, who created Darkchylde, does a great job of writing the Darkness.  Over the years, Jackie Estacado has been weirdly inconsistent.  While most comic book characters experience slight personality fluctuations as they change creative hands, Jackie has seen a greater range of personalities than most, largely due to Jackie’s constantly changing relationship with the Darkness.  In this comic, he’s a little more charming and sassy than he has been before, which is a good approach for him.  He seems to be completely comfortable with his Darkness powers, which was a good decision for this story.  A good deal of this book is an ongoing dialogue between Jackie and Miss Happy.  Despite the creepiness of the situation, the banter is entertaining and flows very organically.  This makes it very easy for the readers to drop themselves comfortably into the story.

Art-wise, the Queens make a great team.  With Randy on pencils, and Sarah on inks, color, lettering, and design, the book comes together very well.  The majority of this issue takes place in an icy nightmare world where it rains blood, and the reader is definitely made aware of this.  The contrast between cold blue ice and flowing red blood is explored in depth both through color and design.  The sky and the ground stand apart like fire and ice, as do the Darkness and Darkchylde’s costumes.  Randy Queen is a master at designing details on monsters, and we see that throughout this issue.

I really only have one complaint with this issue.  While the dialogue is great and the art is fantastic, the story’s overall structure didn’t feel quite right.  Although this wasn’t apparent through the first reading, this book seems like it was just meant to reacquaint readers with the Darkchylde character as well as develop a little bit of a relationship between Ariel, the Darkness, and the Witchblade.  The complication and the fight with the villain seemed like an afterthought. 

I only say this because once the villain appears and the fighting begins, there’s a lot of posturing and not a lot of substance.  The fun part about these characters’ powers is that they leave so much room for creativity, but in the fight there wasn’t much of it being used. Also, the sudden deus-ex-machina-ish arrival of Sara Pezzini made the fight and everyone involved seem trivial.  Still, it was very unexpected and very cool to see her appear in this book. 

All in all, The Darkness/Darkchylde crossover accomplishes what it sets out to do.  It reintroduces Darkchylde to readers in a fun and exciting way, while providing readers with dynamic and stunning imagery.  If you like Darkchylde and the early Darkness, this book is a must-have.

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