Review – The Darkness: Four Horsemen #2

Jackie Estacado is a pretty scary guy when you think about it. He is a former mob hitman who now wields one of the primal formative forces of the Universe, The Darkness, as a weapon. Sure, light can be a bit of a downer when it comes to using his shadow formed minions, but he has plenty of other body shattering powers at his disposal should he need them. What if I told you he isn’t even the fourth scariest character in this four issue run?

How could I make such a claim? What if I told you the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were running around a small town causing people to eat out of their own stomachs – that is NOT a typo – and to generally just die horrible deaths in excruciating agony. Are you starting to see how it might be possible that The Darkness is almost a cuddly figure in this mini-series? Needless to say, Jackie has his hands full.

David Hine, Jeff Wamester, Jason Martin and Felix Serrano come out of Top Cow’s stable to bring their talents to this issue which is one of the more creepy stories I’ve read in The Darkness. The bloodshed is pretty gross, although not overstated and everyone dies a death very appropriate to who has touched them. Touched by Famine? Then prepare to eat yourself to death, just not in a pleasant way. War will give you uncontrollable rage, prompting you to battle even those you love most to the death. A brush with Pestilence will cause you to keel over or suffer a horrifying and specifically tailored series of illnesses. Finally we have Death himself, who will touch you and immediately number your days. Think Final Destination with more blood and gore.

Jackie faces off with these cleverly disguised bikers in town for a showdown that seems at first to be destined for success. The fires raging in the city that originally would have limited Jackie’s Darkness minions from doing their work are quenched by a sudden storm. The initial attack is brutal both in its depiction and artwork and in its seeming effectiveness. The tide quickly turns however as even his minions are affected by these four bikers powers.

After a little villain monologue by the Horsemen they regenerate and prepare to attack. Even the Darkness within Jackie can sense that something is not right. The bikers are simply waiting for a man that will release them from their bodies – a constraint which currently means they can only transfer their “gifts” by touch – and are cutting loose to pass the time. Two more players are heading to the town as well. One is a woman with white eyes found hitchhiking in the rain. The other is a sinister looking business man with black and yellow eyes flying to the town in a small jet.

I would assume that one will be the key to stopping the Horsemen while the other is the key to unleashing them from their human constraints. Who will win? I guess we’ll find out in two more issues. I’m definitely enjoying this departure from the all encompassing events leading to Artifacts taking place across the Top Cow Universe. The art and story are brutal and Jackie is facing a legitimate challenge. Everything is pointing to a fun final two issues. Check out the interiors below and pick this one up in stores when you see it.