The Darkness is one of the two primal forces of the universe. A male entity of dark which represents chaos. The Darkness is engaged in an internal war with his natural, female counterpart, the Angelus. However he and The Angelus created a sexual truce and they became the parents of The Witchblade.
The Darkness chooses males as his hosts as he passes on from father to son, leaving the previous host (and taking his life) as his first child is conceived, he then awakens within the host on his 21st birthday. Darkness hosts can create anything they desire with The Darkness, even living, sentient beings, but anything they make will crumble to dust in the light.
The Darkness is quite deadly allowing the host to manipulate the shadows/dark to call forth darkling minions to do his bidding and even survive gunshots, it can also be used to maul and feed on people. The Darkness does not function unless it is dark but some users can also manipulate this by creating their own shadows/darkness (smoke-grenades, turning off lights in a room, being underground, etc). But one of the most deadly powers of The Darkness is the ability to create small black holes, and as long as The Darkness's host is in the shadows, he can summon the black hole in the light.
The Darkness also has his own shadow realm that he can go to, where he is king. All of The Darkness's host bodies end up there after The Darkness has no further use of them. The Darkness keeps the corpses alive while they are in this realm, as they now have no souls. This shadow realm is also where the darklings go when they are killed. The Shadow Realm also has another name: Hell. The Darkness is empathically able to feed off emotions, and when he senses fear, anger, love, hate, envy, lust, or pride, it increases The Darkness's range of strength, but The Darkness doesn't need to sense strong emotions to gain strength.
Darkness hosts can also make duplicates of itself when engaged in a situation, and can also teleport by shifting into The Darkness Realm and back, if the host has enough knowledge of The Darkness. If one of The Darkness's host body dies before The Darkness wants him to, The Darkness will put him into his shadow realm until The Darkness fixes him up. The Darkness is passed on via sex, but all Darkness hosts have created hyper-sexual, humanoid female darklings for the purpose of sexual gratification. These courtesans are capable of inducing sexual pleasure that human men cannot handle.
Jackie Estacado is the current host of The Darkness and ex- hitman for the Franchetti Family mob. He is a very violent and sexual man who, until gaining the powers of The Darkness, lived life in the fast lane. Of course, because of the possibility of impregnating a woman causing his own death through The Darkness (it's passed down from father to son, killing the father at the moment of conception), Jackie tries to refrain from sex, to his great frustration.
Though Jackie lives life on the wrong side of the law and can kill without remorse, he has a set of morals he follows and always tries to protect those he cares about. Jackie joined the Mafia at age 6, after being recruited by a mafia don named Frankie "Kill-the-children-too" Franchetti. He was picked up at the orphanage after Frankie was prompted by a mysterious stranger named Sonatine, who told Frankie that having Jackie around would bring him tremendous power. Jackie came to the mafia life easily, losing his virginity to a female officer, during interrogation, at age 14 and killing a man for the first time at 16. He grew up, or more accurately matured, very quickly, and soon enjoyed the life of sex and violence. His actions as a hit-man caused the Italian-crime family to become the most powerful Mafia in New York, fulfilling Sonatine`s Prophecy.
However, when he turned 21, his dark powers awakened and he learned of his dark inheritance. At first, this power was a blessing, allowing his job as a professional hit-man to run more smoothly and work in more novel ways. However, with this power came many enemies. Early on, Jackie spent much of his time escaping from or fighting the Angelus (who wants to kill him), and Sonatine and his Brotherhood of The Darkness (who wish to capture him and steal his powers). Eventually, Jackie chose to quit the mob, but found it easier said than done. Jackie had turned on his adoptive father, Don Frankie Franchetti, to get a clean slate and exit from his life of crime after a meeting with Batman. (Batman/Darkness crossover)
However, after Jackie's "uncle" Frankie kidnapped Jenny, a childhood friend of Jackie's, Frankie killed her and sent a videotape to Jackie in revenge. Jackie could not take this and called out Frenchetti's mob, leading them to an abandoned warehouse covered in gasoline. When the crew arrived to kill Estacado, Jackie threw down his lighter and blew the place, and all its occupants, to bits. (Darkness vol. 1 #40) Over the course of this series, Jackie makes uneasy alliances with Sara Pezzini, the most recent user of The Witchblade. Jackie spent two days (or what seemed to him like 'a million years') afterward wandering around Hell, searching for Jenny, until Tom Judge came and gave him hope, a gift that allows men to exit Hell (The Rapture). (Universe #3) Jackie's body was then reconstructed by The Darkness,using genetic material from Jackie`s only remains, a tooth. (Darkness vol. 2 #1)
Jackie returned to find the Franchetti mob taken over by Frankie's cousin, Paulie. Paulie was able to discover Jackie's secret as well as a long-lost sister of Jenny's. Using this information, Paulie blackmailed Jackie into doing hits for him. Along the way, Jackie learned how to construct a gun out of The Darkness. Later, Jackie discovered the identity of the hitman following Jenny's sister, killed him, and took his revenge on Paulie as well. This led to Jackie taking control of the Franchetti family.
Since taking control of the Franchetti family, Jackie has vastly expanded his mafia, taken on the Triads, and fought the Russian Mafia in Atlantic City. Being the Don of the Italian Mafia in New York did not last long however. In search for the revenge the new Angelus once again confronts Jackie (Witchblade First Born #1 - 3) and with the help of Patience the Magdalena and Witchblade wielder Danielle, Estacado manages to crush her, losing everything he had gained. He flees to Sierra Muñoz in hope of establishing a new empire there. (Darkness Vol.3 #1)
Jackie Estacado is also the father of Hope Pezzini, Sara Pezzini's dark child. He himself could not explain it properly apart from saying that it had to with 'Darkness wanting to tip the balance'. An emanation of The Darkness entity himself confirms this to Patience (Witchblade #110) by saying that he used Jackie as raw material to settle the matter with Angelus once and for all.
Recently, (Darkness Vol. 3 # 1-2) Jackie has established a drug cartel in Sierra Muñoz under the alias Ocaso, with a narcotic made from his own bodily fluids thanks to the help of a demented, but brilliant scientist named Professor Kirchner. With The Darkness, Jackie is able to take control of the small tropical republic, build himself an impenetrable fortress, an army and eventually, even a lover he calls 'Elle'. Most of these come at a price since the residents of Sierra Muñoz don't take very kindly to him. To express their distaste, they perform various acts of guerrilla warfare and in their struggle for liberation, they have found themselves a sponsor in their struggle - The United States.
Jackie returns to his home after a failed assassination attempt. When fully in the labyrinth, he is sexually greeted by Elle. He and Elle mate and Jackie impregnates her. He is then summoned to find one of the rebel leaders, during this he finds the American air fleet. Jackie went to fight the army head on and using The Darkness he was able to take out the entire fleet. Returning to his fortress he is betrayed by Kirchner and loses control of his power after Elle takes control of his darklings, with his darklings turning on him. Jackie was left for dead after being shot in the neck and thrown down a waterfall.
Upon his capture he made a deal with the local rebels agreeing to rid the island of the drug. They kept him in line by strapping a vest of plastic-explosives to his waist, he then led them to his fortress were he rewrote the chemical structure of The Nightfall drug turning it into a cure for the addiction. In doing so he crossed paths with Elle and she showed Jackie that she is pregnant with his baby. Elle and Jackie begin to reconnect but she then kills the rebels,but one of the rebels (Morisol) drops the remote detonator to Jackie`s vest.
Jackie and the remaining rebels escape the fortress in a jeep. Meanwhile Kirchner has Elle sent to the lab to deliver the baby,He also discovers the remote detonator and detonates the vest killing Morisal and causing Jackie`s entire body to blow in half. Jackie (still alive) detaches his still living torso from his legs and begins to crawl away. During this time Elle gives birth to a male, darkling/human-hybrid. The child however killed Elle upon birth, grew to full maturity and killed Professor Kirchner.
Meanwhile Jackie with one final act of will calls his dark soul(The Darkness)back into his body,allowing his body to repair itself and his powers restored. A fight between father and son ended when Jackie left the creature in the upper atmosphere just as dawn was breaking. The creature was then destroyed by the suns rays as it was completely a construct of The Darkness. After crashing to Earth following this battle, Jackie was 'broken'. He was only able to draw just enough strength to keep himself alive through a number of fights while trying to stay alive. During one such fight, he was knocked out and taken to a being known as The Sovereign, who was a being capable of inhabiting any statue bearing his likeness, who told Jackie he died for an instant after fighting his child. This separated his soul from his body, leaving him in his broken state.
In return for a number of assassinations, The Sovereign would reunite Jackie with The Darkness.The assassinations Jackie was sent on were meant to return to Hell evil souls, who had previously made a deal with The Sovereign to take over human bodies. After one such mission in Africa, Jackie was enticed by a beautiful woman with a red scarf, who motioned for him to follow. As he was about to follow her into a house, he was stopped by a man who claimed to have once hosted The Darkness, but had completely discarded the entity without killing him. He warned Jackie of the trap laid hundreds of years earlier, which Jackie ignored. Inside the building the woman waited, along with a Djinn which was created to kill Darkness hosts.
Eventually, Jackie understood that both the woman and the Djinn were cursed themselves, to live only to kill hosts of the dark entity. By strangling the woman, both were released. Outside, Jackie was once more confronted by the old Darkness host, who explained the entity was still completely within him, only held back by his own wish to be without The Darkness. Through a series of insults and physical attacks, Jackie once more drew on the full power of The Darkness, claiming to be sick of people who tried to mess with him. Together with the always talkative darklings, he stated his desire to return home. Attacking the building where the Sovereign held his base, Jackie found himself caught in a room flooded with artificial sunlight and a score of bodies controlled by the Sovereign.
With the help of the darklings biting the power lines outside, Jackie destroyed all the bodies, leaving only one man behind. Jackie, impressed with the ability of this man to stay calm where all the other mercenaries had panicked, offered him a job. Jackie quickly brought together a group of people with distinct skills for a single purpose: to destroy each and every statue that might be used by the Sovereign, effectively removing his presence from Earth. During this time, Jackie was called by Sara who suspected him of robbing a number of New York banks. During a meeting in broad daylight Sara warned Jackie to stay away from the city, not wanting to tell her daughter Hope that mommy had killed daddy.
Jackie agreed and instructed his new employees that under no circumstance were they to enter the city of New York. Jackie and his team then go on a world tour finding and destroying stone bodies that The Sovereign could use as hosts. One of these trips takes him to Fort Knox where a host statue is held. During the raid Jackie discovers that The Sovereign has already taken over the statue as it is radiating light. Jackie is forced to take the Sovereign-possessed statue with them he orders his team to detonate the explosives they had set earlier. Unfortunately for Jackie, he falls from the van and is left helpless as tanks and marines surround him on orders by Major White, who somehow survived the explosion back in Sierra Munoz.
Enemies and AlliesEdit
The embodiment of the Light and the opposing force of The Darkness, the Angelus is one of Jackie's mortal enemy. The Angelus retains the memories of all of her previous host's lives and has led many crusades against Jackie in seeking to rid the world of The Darkness.
The powers of the Angelus are similar to the powers of The Darkness as both have the ability to create sentient beings, both commands a host of minions to do their bidding, she has the power of flight, can conjuring weapons at well and fire bolts of light and teleport herself and other beings (as she did to the bearer of the Ember Stone).
Like The Darkness, The Angelus does have her limits too. While The Darkness cannot function at all in the light, The Angelus can function in the dark but only for short periods of time as it completely drains her power, and turns anything she creates into dust.
The first modern host was the catatonic wife of Uncle Frankie, Lauren Franchetti. After she is killed the power initially possesses Velocity of Cyberforce but it is immediately driven from her body by Cyberforce. She then finds a new host in Celestine Wright until she herself is killed during the events of Broken Trinity by Jackie Estacado. The current Angelus is the former Witchblade host Danielle Baptiste.
An ancient shadow race which feed on the sexual energy of human victims. The Necrobi have the ability to remove the soul from their victim`s body, trapping the body in a blue crystal structure.
She is Jackie and Sara's daughter. She is a hybrid of The Darkness and human.
The daughter of Don Frankie, and the vengeful child of the catatonic Lauren Franchetti, who watched as her father murdered her mother's lover, which caused her to go into a coma. She never liked Jackie, always calling him a bastard(he always called her a bitch), although they maintained an artificial relationship to fool Frankie. Responsible for The Angelus' return, and unsuccessfully trying to overthrow the Franchetti family, Appolonia is left in a coma after being ``infected`` with a peice of Jackie`s power and touched by The Angelus, causing the light to hurt reject her, leaving her comatose. But she is brought out of this state with a fragment from the Spear of Destiny, the Magdalena's weapon, and branches out into her own side of The Darkness herself.
After being banished by The Angelus she mysteriously reappears on the anniversary of her parents' marriage. She is generally happy to see Jackie and is terrified of her mother (as she feels there is nothing remaining of her). Appolonia appears to be in league with The Angelus, setting up Jackie, but in reality betrays The Angelus when she is about to kill Magdalena & Jackie. Appolonia kills her mother with the Spear of Destiny, ending her mother's suffering. Lauren dies with tears of joy and is happy to see both Jackie and her daughter. Appolonia's current whereabouts are unknown.
Each generation one random woman is chosen to host The Witchblade, a mystical, symbiotic entity of enormous power. This generation's host is Sara Pezzini, a New York City detective. Sara teamed up with Jackie first in the Family Ties crossover, and again later to fight the Necrobi. Sara has also hassled Jackie about his Midnight activities during the second run of the comic. She is also the mother of Jackie`s ``daughter`` Hope Pezzini. This has ignited a romantic/sexual attraction between Sara and The Darkness.
The Magdalena was first introduced to Top Cow in The Darkness series, and has appeared a few times in the comic during her reign. Descended from Mary Magdalene, the first Magdalena we are introduced to was Sister Mariella, the daughter of Sister Rosalia. Mariella was prematurely sent to battle Jackie, and since she was brought up in a twisted sect of the church, was a wild fanatic who did not know right from wrong. She was left for dead, but recovered, only to battle with the Angelus and again be left for dead. Mariella hasn't been seen since.
Afterwards, Patience, the current Magdalena, is sent out to attack The Darkness, and Jackie mistakes her for Mariella, as does The Angelus. After explaining the situation to him, they end up teaming up against the Angelus, and Patience is possessed by her spirit. Jackie saves her, and The Angelus flees. Patience aided Jackie in defending Sara while she was in labor with their child. The baby is the offspring of The Darkness & a human, thus The Angelus saw her as a threat.
Jackie has a twin sister named Capris Castiglione. The two were separated when they were just babies. Worried about Darkness's power and influence on her other child, their mother entrust Capris to Father Brendan. He raised her in an orphanage as if she is his own daughter. Capris' destiny gets twisted when she finds her best friend Blair murdered. She discovered that Blair was used in illegal porno movies. When Father Brendan was dying, he revealed Capris's past and twin brother to her. She meets a Native American by the name of Robert Bearclaw (Ripclaw of Cyberforce) who teaches her how to use the limited Darkness powers that she inherited from her father.
Five years later, full of hatred, Capris sought out the men responsible for her friend's death. She pretended to be stripper named Tiffany and waited for a right moment to kill them. Ripclaw followed her on the revenge trip and offered to resume training her in the use of the Darkness. When she meets her brother, Jackie Estacado, for the first time, she tells him where the Angelus is holding Frankie, and then disappears. When Jackie needed to fight Cherubs, and Ripclaw took him to the spirit world, Capris looked after their earthly bodies and kept Jenny company. She and Jackie maintain a fair relationship, that occasionally becomes romantic and even sexual.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Jackie wields powers and abilities of The Darkness, a universal force of chaos and dark creation. This gives him the ability to work an amazing number of effects, from greatly increasing his own strength, speed, durability, senses, healing-factor, etc., to creating sentient life (commonly in the form of Darklings, small, foul-mouthed imps that do his bidding). Jackie most commonly uses The Darkness to craft a suit of mystical,semi-organic body armor about himself, as well as creating shadowy, fanged tentacles and clawed darklings to eviscerate his opponents. He has displayed the ability to create black-holes out of the shadows, as well as teleportation.
The limits of The Darkness's power and ability is unknown, though it does not function at all in strong light, which turns anything it created into dust. Jackie would appear to have some limited prescience, and has, on a few occasions, seen how individuals will die. (The Darkness vol. 2, Issues #1-3)
More recent comics show Jackie as having the power and ability to generate permanent physical objects (such as water, and the drug known as Nightfall) as well as technically creating "life" in the form of his lover, Elle. He is able to create these things through practice, and the guidance of Professor Kirchner. During this time, Jackie becomes a drug lord his powers and abilities evolve to form the goblin like darklings into larger hulking more malevolent forms. The palace in which he lives is also constructed from the Darkness, and changes and reforms to Jackie's will, allowing him to technically shift through space and time and get to the places he wants to go faster.
On top of his mystical abilities, Jackie is a top-notch mafia hitman and is a master marksman (with a preference for dual 9 mm handguns) as well as being a formidable hand-to-hand fighter.He has recently displayed formidable skill with a sword. Jackie also has other abilities including flight, chaos manipulation, night-vision, surface-scaling, shadow manipulation and shadow-energy blasts.
The Darkness has been around for at least a few millennia, and thus has been used by many men (being passed down from father to son). A lot of these other users can be seen in the mini-series, Tales of The Darkness. In one instance, the powers of The Darkness were siphoned from Jackie by Ian Nottingham. One of the most well known users outside of Jackie has been the pirate Captain Miguel Estacado, who was the main character of Ron Marz's The Darkness: Black Sails. Jackie's twin sister Capris Castiglione is also a user of Darkness, the only known female user to date.
In the one-shot comic Darkness Infinity, present-day Earth is destroyed by The Darkness, and in the distant future, an alien race discovers the remains of the planet, and a space shuttle on the moon, which, according to the shuttle's records, was in orbit of Earth when the planet was destroyed. Apparently, after Earth was destroyed, The Darkness began looking for a new host, and found the crew of the shuttle, which it possessed, until the crew killed each other.
The alien newcomers were the first to discover Earth, and therefore the first opportunity The Darkness had to inhabit a new host. The comic ends with The Darkness possessing the crew leaving the captain of the ship all alone, and taking off to cause destruction throughout the galaxy, as The Darkness has done for millennia, on thousands of inhabited planets.
Jackie has appeared in crossover story lines involving Lara Croft, Sara Pezzini, Jane Vasko, Clark Kent, the xenomorphs, the Predators, Eva - Daughter of Dracula, The Hulk, Bruce Wayne, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and Wolverine.
The first two exist in a shared continuity with The Darkness. Several are non-canonical for the crossover heroes, but several of the other crossover are canonical as the events in this crossover are later referred to and have repercussions in The Darkness comic & Top Cow Universe.
The series has been collected into a series of trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1 (1996-2001):
- Coming of Age (176 pages, collects Preview and The Darkness #1-6, 1998, ISBN 1582400326)
- Ultimate Collection (352 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 1 issues #1-6 and #40, Volume 2 issues #1-6, 2007, ISBN 1582407800)
- Heart of Darkness (144 pages, collects The Darkness #7-8, 11-14, 2001, ISBN 1582402051)
- Spear of Destiny (106 pages, collects The Darkness #15-18, 2000, ISBN 1582401470)
- Original Sin (166 pages, collects The Darkness #15-25, 2005, ISBN 1582404593)
- Flesh and Blood (464 pages, collects The Darkness #26-39, October 2005, ISBN 1582405387)
- Compendium (1280 pages, collects The Darkness#1-40, Tales of the Darkness #1-4 and Darkness: Wanted Dead, December 2006, ISBN 158240643X, November 2007, ISBN 1582408017)
- Volume 2 (2002-2005):
- The Darkness Vs. Eva - Daughter of Dracula (104 pages, collects The Darkness Vs. Eva issues #1-4, 2008, ISBN 193330585)
- Volume 3 (2008-):
- Accursed: Volume 1 (160 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #1-6, September 2008, ISBN 1582409587)
- Accursed: Volume 2 (140 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #7-11, October 2009, ISBN 1607060442)
- Accursed: Volume 3 (160 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #12-15 (#76-#79 with legacy numbering), June 2010, ISBN 1607061007)
In December 2004, Dimension Films paid an undisclosed six-figure sum to develop a possible movie based on the comic, planned for release in 2008 but has not been released yet. The comic was pitched as a similar movie to The Crow, which was also produced by Dimension.
According to Newsarama, Top Cow president Matt Hawkins revealed that a live-action film based on the comic is in development. Details on the project were light, with Hawkins only saying that Scott Stuber Productions (The Kingdom, The Break-Up) was attached to produce. 
The Darkness (video game)In March 2005, "The Darkness" was licensed by Majesco for a console game to be developed by Starbreeze Studios. 2K Games later obtained the rights to the game, and the first-person shooter was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console systems on June 25, 2007 in the United States and on June 29, 2007 in the EU (Xbox 360 only - PlayStation 3 version was released on July 20) .
To promote the video game a five-issue mini-series was released, with each issue chronicled a chapter of the game. In June 2007 it was collected into a Trade Paperback (ISBN 1582407975). The game is mostly based on the events of the first volume of the Darkness comics, however it does alter some key elements such as having Paulie being the one that adopts Jackie.
During the game, The Darkness holds true to the comics, with the same powers. Though the Darkness becomes extremely resilient, and tries to make you kill people, it is relatively docile toward the beginning of the game. By the time The Darkness realizes you are taking control it then starts to try to persuade you to stop.
Marc Silvestri noted in an interview that a sequel to the first game is in the works.