Ah, see, now this is more like it.
As regular readers may recall, I was not impressed with Darkhold #1. Only the fact that I knew this series reached wondrous depths could make me return.
Darkhold #2 was one of the first comics I ever read, when I was probably a little too young to be reading it. As such it holds a certain nostalgic charm for me, but in addition to that the writing of Chris Cooper ages very well, and this story is possibly more relevant today than it was in 1993.
In begins where the last issue left off, with the mysterious dwarf that hands out Darkhold pages giving one of them to Thorton, an arsonist recently out on parole. The page is a spell that not only summons a hell hound, but also allows the user to be lead to whatever he desires most. In this case, it gives the arsonist access to a Gamma Bomb, one of the most powerful man-made weapons in the Marvel Universe and the device responsible for the creation of the Hulk.
It is in this that the book finds the stride that would make it one of the most memorable parts of the Marvel U: it’s ability to show real characters and real consequences to the epic, heroic actions of the heroes in the Marvel Universe. In essence, to become the Marvel Universe The X-Files.
The villian of the comic is an out-of-work General who happily supplies Thorton with the Gamma Bomb, hoping that when it is set off it will be blamed on terrorists and unite America in a way not seen in the 1990’s, against a common enemy. This is particularly meaningful in a post-9/11 world, when we have seen displaced anger and accepted racism as a result in terrorist attacks. And, as odd as it was, it did unite America as a nation.
The story sets the Marvel Universe as the backdrop for a more impressive and dark take then I think could have been found in any superhero comic even to this day. And hey, here’s a plus: No Ghost Rider! That’s right, editorial mandates are gone (at least for the time being), and no sooner are they gone then we get a great story. I’d love to say that I’m surprised.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5/5. Highly recommended reading. A must for comic fans and non-comic fans alike.