Balakov has revealed that Jenny Estacado is what brought him here and now Jackie and the doppelgänger must face the consequences. Aram is disgusted to learn that Jackie reshaped the universe in order to save Jenny, revealing that as Hope had been the daughter of the Witchblade and the Darkness, she had been the perfect balance between light and dark. But now, in this universe, she is all Darkness. And the doppelgänger takes great delight in this fact.
As the “Breaking Dark” story arc has gone on, I’ve been slowly losing interest in it. Or perhaps, it was that I made the mistake of reading issues #106 – #109 all together, so didn’t really notice the flaws of each individual issue. However, reading The Darkness #110 out of sequence, I can suddenly see them. And I’m rather disappointed.
First up, the good things: the cover. I really like the cover. Jeremy Haun’s art hasn’t ever been my favourite, but this issue’s cover is gorgeous. The colours by John Rauch are visually appealing with the various shades of green. A dull emerald glow coats Hope Estacado and those wicked little eyes gaze up at you from the page. However, there isn’t quite the same level of delicacy throughout the rest of the comic. While I like the art, it doesn’t really pop off the page at you. As comics go, the art is fine, but if Haun can turn out covers like this, it would be nice to see that throughout the issue.
The breakdown of Jenny has been ongoing for a while now. As I said in a previous review, the earlier issues when there were only hints of Jenny’s instability were pretty well done. In this issue, Jenny has gone full-on Ophelia. As a big fan of Hamlet, this suits me fine. Some of her mad ramblings are touching and heart-breaking at the same time. Particularly when Hope reaches for her mother, only to have Jenny respond with “Silly girl. I’m not your mummy.” It would be pretty damn sad if Hope wasn’t such a little monster. Jenny also repeatedly says “I used to have a boyfriend once”, which – in my opinion – could be a reference to the life she had before she died in the real universe. It’s really sad because it reminds you of how they were way back in the early comics. I cried when I read the original issue and that image of Jenny crying, tied up and with the barrel of a gun pressed to her head came to mind when Jenny said those words.
As for Hope, the current Darkness team have gone a little Omen on us. Hope displays very little emotion other than anger and she lacks the innocence of any other child. In Artifacts, Hope seemed a little strange, but now she is beyond hope – ironically enough. The child is downright freaky. Especially the way she speaks about her mother. The way Hope favours the doppelgänger over her real father is nothing short of disturbing. But we learn in this issue that as Hope is no longer the child of the Witchblade and the Darkness, she was an equal balance between the two artifacts. However, now she is the child of the Darkness and something created by the Darkness (Jenny) so she is pure dark. All in all, she is not the kind of creature you want to mess with.
Something that particularly irritated me with this issue was the same thing that bothered me about the previous one: How easily Jackie is beaten down. In fact, in The Darkness #110, Jackie doesn’t even put up a fight and we don’t even really get to see what he has to go through. There’s just a ridiculously big jump from everyone having a showdown with Balakov to something that I won’t spoil, seeing as it’s in the last few pages.
But, overall, it’s a real let-down. There is no way Jackie would back down that easily. I’ve had this rant before, so I won’t repeat myself. What I will say is that the Jackie Estacado I know and think is awesome is not this Jackie. Top Cow, please hurry up and get him back to the way he should be.
And, bloody hell, ditch that doppelgänger.