If Darkness Within were food it would be a buffalo wing. The plot is easy to handle, but not all that meaty and mainly serves as a substrate for the spicy, salty art. It is tastier than it is nourishing and there is a possibility you will feel sick after. Most of all, though, it is messy in the best way possible.
Darkness Within is an action packed tale of pseudoscience, revenge and explosions. London is being evacuated due to a mysterious and deforming affliction related to a fleshy, tumorous growth covering Big Ben. Meanwhile, our hero Christian is scaling the Himalayas wearing a tank top, in search of a rare plant that will lift his curse, or darkness within, if you will. We get flashed back to Christian and his lady, searching for a Dr. Yogami, but finding an angry flesh monster instead. Christian gets slashed and infected with said curse, which gives him the power to mutate based on his imagination, like some hideous Green Lantern made of flesh puddy. One dead love interest later and we have our impetus for the monster fight that occupies the majority of the book.
This is a book about a fight, plain and simple. The backstory is brief and the action is everything. The consummate underdog, all of Christian's endeavors are drenched in desperation. The larger than life kaiju battle and the come from behind, dig deep performance of Christian gives Darkness Within a very anime feel. Lots of collateral damage to hapless military personnel, villain with a god-complex that increases in size and power drowning the city in his fleshy tendrils, the usual. The dialogue takes itself very seriously and there is not an ounce of humor to be found. The grim tone seems appropriate considering London is being devastated by a horrific flesh-beast, but is betrayed by the sheer magnitude of the action, which reaches an almost comedic level. A little self-awareness would have gone a long way.
The art in Darkness Within is messy and chaotic just like the action. Luckily the vivid coloring helps bring order to the page. The characters are almost always grimacing. I think there are a total of four smiles in the book, two of which are evil bad guy smiles. Then again, there are not many reasons for the characters to smile considering the constant threat of imminent destruction. The pages are filled with engorged fists, slashing tentacles and all manner of weaponry. The artist knows how to draw a crazy action sequence and proves it over and over again.
If you like grotesque violence you will probably enjoy Darkness Within. A large portion of the book is filled with vaguely anthropomorphic mounds of flesh-like substances punching each other. In fact, if I had to describe this comic in one sentence that would be it. I found it to be a little generic, but also pretty kickass. Everyone needs a good slugfest now and again…right?
Darkness Within Writer: Massimo Rosi Artist: Stefano CardoselliAmazonPublisher: Markosia Enterprises Ltd Price: $9.99 Release Date: July 1, 2015 Format: Print