Controlling the Darkness
Talking About Top Cow's The Darkness Writer Phil Hester
by Eric Ratcliffe
Controlling the Darkness returns. First, a quick apology for the delay as I determined with this two issue arc that we'd talk about everything all together. These two issues (#82-83) had Jackie and his crew going after one of the tougher locked down statues in a scene very reminiscent of Ocean's 11 and how everything goes wrong at the right time. So without further ado Phil!
Eric Ratcliffe: So the first question on my mind this month...should I know the guy in the eye patch? It was hinted that we should know him.
Phil Hester: He's the same Colonel White from issues #1-6- The Empire arc. He led the helicopter battle against Jackie and was present when Marisol (the rebel leader) died trying to defuse the suicide bomb vest she placed on Jackie.
Eric: Ah okay, now I remember him. I take it this is going to be him attempting to put Jackie down once and for all?
Phil: It sure looks that way. We'll find he had stronger feelings for Marisol than we knew and her death really shook him up. Having Jackie dropped into his lap looks like divine retribution from his vantage.
Eric: When one of The Sovereign's statues glow does that mean he's about to take control of them?
Phil: No. It's particular to this model. It's made of Selenite, which conducts light almost like fiber optic cable. It was built centuries ago as a Darkness-killer.
Eric: So how was it writing your own little Ocean's 11 heist moment? That had to be fun.
Phil: Yeah, I'd been building up to that for a while. But the real fun came in making it all disintegrate and watching how the players reacted to that.
Eric: I'm not sure if it was my imagination or just me being impatient...was there a delay between these two issues?
Phil: Yep. Michael and Eric took a little longer than we wanted, but the results were dazzling.
Eric: This isn't the last we've seen of White, is it?
Phil: Could be. I like to think we let him go out in style. You never know, though.
Eric: He went from being a villain to watching out for the American people. I really, really enjoyed seeing you explore that. Does a piece of him still wish to see Jackie dead or just never see him again at this point?
Phil: I think his moral compass has always pointed true north, it's just that he now sees good intentions are not enough. His good intentions helped get Marisol Yanez killed in Sierra Munoz. By the book, he should bring Jackie in, but he's seen enough to know that will only lead to even more horror down the road. Beating Jackie may actually lead to more bloodshed than letting him run rampant. It actually foreshadows some motivation for future characters, but we'll see that when the time comes. I think White did what he could live with best. He didn't exactly help Jackie, but he didn't turn him over to the government either. He washed his hands of him.
Eric: The people the government was sending after Jackie, will we be seeing them play a role in the book? I ask because I was intrigued by their character designs.
Phil: All of issue 84 is devoted to Jackie's encounter with this Hunter-Killer "B" Squad.
Eric: Kim is an awesome supporting character, easily my favorite you've introduced in the book. Was it important to show how strong he could be even in front of the man who used to sign his paycheck?
Phil: Yeah. I really wanted to show the depth of loyalty Jackie could inspire, even in criminals. It's a big part of his character. He's a scumbag, but he's a magnetic one.
Eric: That was totally my next question, where does this leave Jackie next issue? Or are we jumping into a new story?
Phil: Treat the last page of #83 like a cliffhanger for #84. Jackie mixes it up with the H-K B-Team, a surprise visit from The Foreigner, and a return to Jackie's exploration of just how far he can take his power.
Eric: Not sure if it's been fully established in the story or not as I can't remember, what's the body count left for The Sovereign? He seems almost at ease here as if he's not even in any danger.
Phil: He's running low, but most of these are so mundane we have them taking place off panel. He's not the kind of guy who would let Jackie see him sweat, but he feels the noose tightening now.
Eric: But he wasn't facing Jackie, he was facing Jackie's crew and you saying that makes me think of that scene a little differently now. Was that The Sovereign's attempt to defend the pieces of himself that are still around as sort of a last ditch effort? As well as showing Jackie's crew having loyalty?
Phil: Oh, he is concerned, but he's a world class bullshitter, so he's always going to project strength. That whole encounter was about The Sovereign trying to undermine Jackie's support system. Things are definitely coming to a head.
Eric: That C4 line really caught me off guard; did Kim and the guys do that before the body woke up or during the scuffle?
Phil: It should have been evident in the art that it happened during the scuffle, but it's one of those things that fell through the cracks and we were so behind we couldn't take the time to tweak it.
Eric: Truth be told, and this doesn't really make sense in context, but I thought Kim's gun had C4 bullets and that's where the C4 came from. Obviously not the case, but in a book like this it would have made sense right?
Phil: Yeah, that's the ticket!
Eric: So next issue is Jackie facing the HKB team, do we follow the rest of the crew as well or is it just Jackie focused? And is the book back on schedule after the slight delay?
Phil: 100% Jackie-centric. Very action heavy. Whilce Portacio kicking out the jams. After that a new 2-parter from me and Sheldon Mitchell with Jackie and his crew in action, so, God willing, at least 4 issues in a monthly sequence. Fingers crossed.
That's it for this month, folks! Join us next time as we talk about issue #84 with beautiful art by Whilce Portacio.
Eric Ratcliffe is a young writer/pop culture journalist/interviewer currently working on pitching a project named the Hunter chronicles. When not reading his weekly stack Eric can be found watching dvd's, playing on his 360 (gamertag: Zack Hunter) or just surfing online trying to find a scoop or two. Brand new to the Comic Related family, Eric is a fun new voice. Eric shops at TJ's Collectibles. Visit them on the web at www.tjcollect.com!
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