The Darkness: Hope is a one-shot comic that can certainly be read without prior knowledge of series, but it may not seem as gripping. The comic book begins in Hope Estacado’s apartment in a conservative fashion, talking about Hope’s battle with mornings and the new day they bring. The common nature continues as Hope enters a coffee shop and her best friend, Leah Baptiste, accuses Hope of hooking up with her reporter counterpart, Jake Meer.
The commonplace nature of the comic book suddenly takes a turn as a man shatters the front window of the coffee shop, ranting about the stars’ alignment. According to him, “the stars are wrong,” and he is not the only one to notice the phenomenon. In fact, that’s what Hope and Jake are investigating together for the magazine, Science Times, and they plan on talking to Professor Patricia Mcnair about the matter.
The talk with Professor Patricia Mcnair proves to be another step away from the every day. The professor exposes her theory as to why the stars are no longer aligned in a familiar pattern: the world is 10,000 years “in the future.” Ms. Mcnair explains that while calendars claim it is the year 2036, the star patterns suggest it is closer to the year 14,000. The question of how her theory could even be possible is still debatable, but Hope has an idea of who could provide answers: her father, Jackie Estacado.
Jackie Estacado is glorified as a hero for struggling with a darkness that tried to destroy the human race. Regrettably, no one is quite sure what transpired that day, and it just so happens that it was at that time that the stars’ alignment downshifted. What was it about that great battle that changed the night sky? Hope is determined to find out, with or without her father’s help.
The Darkness: Hope has a tough commencement, and it unquestionably has an interesting problem to unravel; notwithstanding, the transition between Hope’s rummaging for answers and her obtaining them happens quickly–and somewhat inefficiently.
Later in the narrative it is explicit that someone orchestrated hints for Hope to uncover, but the mystery as to why is never addressed. There is also the question of “Why now?” left unresolved. The resulting loose ends may leave some readers frustrated.
As stated, those who are not intimate with the comic series The Darkness, or even Witchblade, may not realize how shocking Hope’s discovery is. The revelation is still riveting and worth the readers’ time, but some background regarding the family dynamic truly helps in understanding the significance of Hope’s sleuthing. This is especially so since this one-shot’s ending is reminiscent of a first storyline involving Hope as a young girl, which makes the story much more complex and enjoyable overall.
Aside from familiarity of the series being advantageous, The Darkness: Hope positively delights. The truth that is finally exposed will change perceptions of all of the characters for readers — a feat not easily done. The uneasy and chilling ending may leave an unsettling feeling for some, but it will also prompt two questions: is the ending showcasing a never-ending cycle, or could there be a new battle for Hope sometime in the future?
The Darkness: Hope, published by Image Comics, was written by Charlie Harmon featuring exceptional inner-artwork by Daniel P. Dwyer, cover by Linda Sejic and coloring by Chris Northrop. It was lettered by Troy Peteri, edited by Ryan Cady and designed by Tricia Ramos.