Hello, everybody, Frank Inglese here for another round of comic talk with CC Comic Zone! This is the place where, each week, I talk about different aspects of comics, what’s good about them, what’s bad about them and who my favourite characters are. This week the CC Comic Zone Character Spotlight will be on a man called Jackie Estacado the “made man” and main character from the action comic book series (and game) The Darkness, published by Top Cow Productions and was created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis and David Wohl.
If you’re a fan of comics I’m sure you’ve heard of the infamous Jackie Estacado, or at least you’ve heard of the series The Darkness. If you’re a gamer I’m certain you would’ve heard of The Darkness considering the comic was made into two games, one of them actually being a ripper of a game. If you like Anime I’m sure you would’ve heard of a series called Witchblade, think of that as the distant cousin of The Darkness, they both come from the same line of series’ and both share a story. The Darkness seems to be almost everywhere and no that wasn’t an overly emotional metaphor but in the world of the comics “The Darknees seems to be almost everywhere” is quite the understatement. I’m not here to talk about the entire series though, I’m here to talk about the main character and current/former host, depending on where you’ve read up to, of The Darkness.
Jackie Estacado is a character that can’t seem to catch a break but it’s not like he’s been put in a situation where “a break” comes easy, no, not at all. Let’s take a leaf out of Drake’s book and start from the bottom: Jackie grew up in an orphanage, a real strict one too, let’s just say those were the days he chooses to forget…well, most of it, it IS the place where he found his one and only true love: Jenny. Jackie struck gold when he was six years old, a mob boss named Don Franchetti adopted him and from then on he was trained in the ways of a “made man”, he was to one day lead the Franchetti family of crime and become the king of the New York City underground. Jackie helped the Franchetti family cast a wider net, he helped them become more powerful and at this point in time he was just a normal kid. When he turned 21 Jackie was gifted with the power of The Darkness, forcefully, it is the one thing his biological father passed down to him, once again, not by choice.
From then on in Jackie learned how to use the powers of The Darkness, he used them well to say the least. Still being part of the Mafia, Jackie went around making hits on rivalling families with ease now that he was, somewhat, in control of The Darkness but that doesn’t mean all his troubles ended, no, they were just beginning. I’m not going to spoil the story or even take you through it, all I’m going to say is that there’s a reason The Darkness is what it is. Jackie had countless enemies and now they weren’t all just other Mafia families, they were supernatural forces, the Vatican, his very OWN family and so much more, Jackie even went head to head with both Superman and Batman, yeah I’m not joking, he was able to stand his ground too, in a big way, which actually brings me to my next big point: The powers of Jackie Estacado and The Darkness.
Essentially Jackie, alongside The Darkness, can do anything he can imagine, the one downside is that he can’t use the powers in the light which isn’t unusual considering his powers are called The Darkness. He has the ability to control the darkness around him, he has the ability to create things from the darkness and really it can be anything from guns to knives to tendrils used to pierce and eat the hearts of his enemies! His most used ability is creation, he creates a whole lot of different creatures called “Darklings” that all obey him yet all have their own personalities and even help him while learning what he can do with his powers. The one thing you’ll notice about the powers of The Darkness is the reptilian-looking suit that Jackie gets when his powers are activated, that is more or less invincible and is, pretty much, the “base of operations” for his powers. Everything comes from Jackie, everything comes from the darkness. He is also able to shape shift, not only weapons but the suit itself, turning his hands into giant knives and what not, growing wings or even bulking up his, already impenetrable, armour. Super strength, super speed, super anything really, Jackie has all the powers you could ask for and he’s also an incredible fighter and hitman as well as an expert at firearms, this was all taught to him before he even got The Darkness which comes into play throughout the series.
What I like about Jackie Estacado and The Darkness is that it’s a series that mixes the supernatural with reality in a really crazy way. A Mob boss with the power to control darkness seems a little overkill but he’s not just put up against normal hitmen, he’s out fighting angels, the Vatican, other versions of what he has and, like I mentioned earlier, other superheroes. Maybe I just like Jackie Estacado because he’s one of the few characters in history that have been able to make the amazing, incredible, indestructible Superman bleed in just one punch. I also like the way his character develops and the way he contrasts even himself; he’s a hitman for the mob long before he is the host of The Darkness, he’s killed for a living for almost his whole life yet he still loves and his morals are above all others, he respects and he honours and regardless of the situation he almost always does what he needs to do without breaking his word or his honour. In saying that though he has still done some incredibly bad things, unthinkable things, devastating things.
He’s suave, he’s deadly, he’s respectful, he’s Jackie Estacado; the host of The Darkness and New York City’s number one killer. He is everything rolled into one and you can absolutely see the amount of effort that was put into this character both aesthetically, historically and personality-wise. He is one of the great, lesser-known anti-heroes of our time. He’s one of my favourites because of all this and maybe because I have a soft spot in my heart for the Italian Mafia, maybe, just maybe.