Controlling the Darkness
Talking About Top Cow's The Darkness Writer Phil Hester
by Eric Ratcliffe
Here we are with another Controlling the Darkness! This month Phil and I talk San Diego Comic-Con and issues 84-85. A mystery is looming over what Jackie can do with his powers and just what the Sovereign has up his sleeve for our lead. So let's jump right in!
Eric Ratcliffe: So Phil, these last two issues have certainly opened up a floodgate for Jackie and us as readers to exactly what he can do with his powers, is it safe to say that this is a huge part of the last year of your run?
Phil Hester: Most definitely. You're going to see Jackie stretching the limits of how he can use The Darkness for the next year or so... and exactly how The Darkness itself is trying to use Jackie.
Eric: The foreigner as a character...is he in middle ground or is he good/bad? Not sure if we ever really established this? Or is it something you intentionally keep as vague as possible?
Phil: He is definitely a good guy, but in our book that reads like being a villain since Jackie is a bad guy. He sees something in Jackie that he can salvage, but if that fails, he's perfectly willing to destroy him.
Eric: We've seen Jackie start using some new constructs, from making it appear as if the men he fought two issues ago were dead to the spider in 85, I have to wonder just what the limit of his recent knowledge to increase his abilities is?
Phil: I think what we're learning is that Jackie's abilities are limited only by his ingenuity. Which should scare everyone.
Eric: The mole in the organization has been teased in the solicits, should we be looking for hints as to who it is?
Phil: I hope that it will come as a bolt from the blue. When page 5 of #87 hits I want it to be as shocking as possible.
Eric: I find that interesting, Phil; a lot of writers go for that last minute cliffhanger, you just go for the jugular in a sense.
Phil: Well, look, you all know I'm a fan of the WTF? moment by now, I hope. Cliffhangers are fine, but so are gut punches.
Eric: Whilce [Portacio] being on 84 must have been a lot of fun, is Sheldon staying on the book as of 85 or will there be revolving art teams?
Phil: I don't want to jinx this, but Sheldon has been cranking out some fine, timely work. It looks like he's the guy from here on out. I couldn't be happier! He's a star in the making.
Eric: Will the book be playing into Artifacts at all or will it stay stand alone for the rest of your run?
Phil: A little of both. Top Cow really wants Artifacts to be self contained so readers won't have to chase multiple issues of ancillary books. All you have to buy are Artifacts 1-13 to get the whole story. That said, once something goes down in Artifacts it will have an impact on The Darkness. We won't just drop it on people out of the blue, though. It will be explained sufficiently in our pages as well.
Eric: Obviously you can't talk about that last page much but...Sonatine?! Been a long time since he was around.
Phil: More than meets the eye... or less?
Eric: I like how gaining access to the statue seemed so easy this time around, how it was just basically throwing money around...well until the twist at least.
Phil: Well, I figured that some of them must be in private collections and mounting a caper to steal them must be expensive, so why not just buy it? Also, money's not really an issue for Jackie.
Eric: Is there more to the bodyguard than meets the eye?
Phil: Waaaaaay more. In fact, well, just pick up the next issue.
Eric: Has Jackie's sense of the paranormal heightened? I ask because he's not at all focused in this issue and a little jumpy.
Phil: Not necessarily, it's more apt to say something is intruding on him from the outside. See next issue for details.
Eric: So how was San Diego? Were there a lot of Darkness readers coming up to you?
Phil: It was great and insane, as always. Plenty of Darkness fans from all around the country showed up. I can't say enough about supportive the fans have been.
Eric: So the Russian probably doesn't realize exactly who Jackie's crew is; I say that meaning that if we see the fight between them that he probably bit off more than he can chew? Not to mention he's the kind of guy that deserves whatever Jackie's crew can give to him, right?
Phil: Not a safe assumption on either end. Maybe he knows exactly who Jackie is, and maybe he's got more than enough firepower to deal with him and his crew. But, yeah, in the end he's gonna get exactly what he deserves. It is The Darkness, after all.
Eric: So next issue, what can readers expect?
Phil: Learning exactly what our title "The Alkonost" means, meeting an impossibly ancient knight, seeing what Arvo can do, learning why you don't let Jackie's crew live after you cross them, watching Jackie do something especially horrible to someone he loves, and seeing just what kind of awfulness awaits anyone who betrays The Darkness. Plus a big explosion.
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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