Hope Estacado wakes up groggy from a strange night, and her day gets stranger as a strange man throws a garbage can through the window of the coffee shop Hope and her best friend were ordering at. The man complains that the stars are not the way they’re supposed to be. With that incident, Hope and another journalist friend of hers named Jake, they set off to find a logical and scientific explanation to the homeless man’s ravings. This is the one-shot comic from Top Cow’s talent hunt 2015 winners Charlie Harmon and Daniel Dwyer. The story is quite solid. Although the dialogue was a bit confusing at the beginning, having a hard time separating the character traits form exposition, it had a strong enough plot that I was able to follow along nicely regardless, and most of those kinks had cleared up once the setup of this issue had been established. It wraps quite well and had a twist I did not see coming, whereas I thought this would be a passing of the torch story, it’s not quite like that. Which is very fresh with something like the darkness, although I love the concept, the story of Jackie Estacado can only be told so many times over. Hope is a well defined character, within the constraints of the less than 30 pages Charlie Harmon was able to flesh her out well and show that journalistic side and hunger for the truth.
Dwyer's art has its strengths and weaknesses, his uses of shadows and greys give the necessary tone to make this a Darkness title, with that hint of Alex Maleev who works a lot with shadows, or even Michael Gaydos during his work on Alias. The resemblance to a young Jessica Jones is there, without making it blatant. Where he fails to impress was those half splashes he was given, I understand that because this is a one-shot, page real estate is precious and to use it on full splash pages might not be the best idea, but give those two panels he was given to depict an epic battle, although the story had the weight necessary, the art didn’t carry it along. I would hope it was a time/space constraint more than anything.
The Darkness: Hope is an issue worth checking out to see another story that could be told from this very popular concept, it proposes to take the story in a fresh direction, and it seems that given the reigns, those two could take it to a whole new level, the way Stjepan Seijic did with Witchblade and Switch.
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Darkness: Hope Writer: Charlie Harmon Artist: Daniel Dwyer Colorist: Troy Peteri Publisher: Top Cow/Image Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/6/16 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital