By Jonathan Edwards
This was an odd direction to go with the third issue. We'd just finished setting the stage for Daniel Aston's story to really kick off. But now, instead of doing that, we're being yanked back in time to World War II so we can learn how the Shaitan came to co-exist with humans in modern Britain. It's not like that an inherently bad or uninteresting concept, I just don't see any good reason for doing it now. Especially when there doesn't appear to be any real connection to the main story. It's just "yep, this is how it happened." That being said, it's not a bad issue in and of itself.
Being a British-based story suddenly transposed to WWII, it takes all of one page for Winston Churchill to show up. And as cliché as that is, it ends up more or less working, as he's also the character we follow the vast majority of the time. He's agreed to meet with a prominent Shaitan to potentially make a deal that will help with the war effort, because, of course, it wasn't going particularly well for the British at the time. Churchill is expectedly hesitant to, quite literally, make a deal with a demon, but he eventually agrees. The second half of Darkness Visible #3 is pretty much concerned with the results of said deal, the Allies eventually being victorious because of the Shaitan's aid.
What makes it an actually interesting read is the motivations of Vivicos and her plans for Shaitan-kind at large. There's not a hint of real deception or malicious intent. She genuinely cares for her people and their collective future, and it makes her all the more compelling as a character. And, perhaps that's why they decided to work it in now? Because, so far, it has been somewhat uncertain as to whether the Shaitan could really be trusted or if they were all involved in one big long con, and this certainly quells that concern. I mean, it is still possible that this is still part of that theoretical long con, but I doubt it. Doing that would undercut pretty much any and all development of the Shaitan, as well as make Aston's choice to host one ultimately unjustified.
Artist Livio Ramondelli takes over for Brendan Cahill this time. In some ways, primarily the color, his art feels like it's going for something of a Ben Templesmith vibe. Although, it's without any of the surrealism that makes his stand out. The result is still decent, with the new Shaitan designs working particularly well. However, the people are a little lacking at times, occasionally not matching their backgrounds. Maybe it wouldn't be as noticeable if Cahill's prior art hadn't so easily made the humans and Shaitan feel like part of the same world.
In the end, Darkness Visible #3 is a pretty enjoyable issue. Although, that doesn't stop it from coming out of left field. Really, it makes me want a different series set in the same world where we can actually see all of the Shaitan's contributions to the war effort. But, it also doesn't prevent me from wanting to see where Daniel Aston's story goes. Hopefully, they keep it on course from here on out and not make anymore needless departures.
Darkness Visible #3