Darkhold #3 (December – 1992 – Marvel)

Darkhold #3

As the Darkhold Redeemers are saved by a mysterious benefactor, one Modred the Mystic, and he has a tale to tell.  A tale all about his journey with the Darkhold, lost love and the birth of his enormous magical powers.  So in the wake of their previous escapade with a gamma bomb and one of the pages of the dark hold, Modred whisks the away from the ground zero of that battle to safety of Louise Hasting’s office, where Vicki Montesi has another premonition about the location of a Darkhold page that is about to be used.

Meanwhile across the country, Wanda Maximoff, AKA The Scarlet Witch has opened a portal to something dark, something that chooses to posses her.  A dark god named Chthon, the deity behind the Darkhold itself.  Things are moving forward and the Darkhold Redeemers have to get to the page before it is used.

Unfortunately they are to late.  In Perfection, South Carolina Aurora Poule is give a choice, by The Other, between being beautiful and having her revenge on those that have hurt her.  She chooses to be beautiful, to move forward, but the people of the town won’t let her.  Soon they are taunting her she again becomes the victim of rape at the hands of town jocks.  Returning to her home she tells The Other that she would like her revenge.  Creatures are released upon the town.

Right around that time the Darkhold Redemers arrive to find the page and search the town to find out what is going on.  Sam fights off monsters but still seems to think that there is no such thing as the paranormal, but then is confronted by an old enemy returned, Sabertooth.

This is a decent one off issue, and it starts to really move the over arching story of the Darkhold forward by digging into Modred’s saga and giving a little more page time the Darkhold cult that seems to be working behind the scenes either controlling the dwarf who is handing out the pages or tracking him.

The art in this issue maintains that dark and heavy black tone of the first two issues (this time worked out with a little more fine detail by Tony Harris who went on to do Whistling Skull).  This is a pretty bleak issue, and like a lot of the issues of Darkhold it isn’t afraid to deal with some pretty serious subject matter.  Rape and cover up in a small town, pretty serious shit, and this doesn’t have any “Mature Content” tags anywhere on it.

This is still one of my favorite titles from the 90’s and the Midnight Sons, and it is really fun re-reading them.

Next Time:  Morbius: The Living Vampire #2


Darkhold #2 (November -1992 – Marvel)

Darkhold #2

Outside of the Spirits of Vengeance title, Darkhold was my favorite of the Midnight Sons books.  There was something about its angular art work and heavy black shading style that always appealed to me.  For some reason (which in retrospect has a lot to do with me being a kid and not knowing better) I felt that the book looked modern and hip, and to this day it looks different from pretty much any book that I have been into over the years.

So the second issue of Darkhold takes place after the Rise of the Midnight Sons series and the defeat of Lilith by the Midnight Sons.  Vicki Montesi, Sam Buchanan, and Louise Hastings are hot on the heels of another black envelope, this time tracking down an arsonist who has been given a Gamma bomb by the mysterious Other.  This time they have little help in finding the page that is on the loose by way of a hell hound whose only job is to track down the page and destroy it.

All the while they are being badgered by not only the Darkholders who seek the release of whatever evil the Darkhold has in store for the world, but also of government agents who are just trying to keep intruders away from the already compromised Gamma bomb.  The three fighters just can’t seem to catch a break, leading up to the final panels.  Modred the Mystic’s appearance to screw things up, and the evil Darkhold dwarf handing out yet another of the Darkhold’s pages to an unsuspecting victim.

While the issues of Darkhold are part of an ongoing series, it was one of the best for stand alone issues.  While the whole of the series made a great overall story, the creature feature narrative made it so you could miss an issue or two know the basics of what was going on, but get a great thriller in just on issue.  A real testament to writer Chris Cooper’s ability to put together a great book.

The art by Richard Case, who also drew for Doom Patrol and Doctor Strange, is quirky and angular, and still remains one of my all time favorite styles (to the point where I’m thinking of hunting down other things that he has done) and made Darkhold a must have every month for me when I was in middle school.  Overall Darkhold is a solid comic, and while this issue is part of the world, and character building that every title needs, it is a really solid issue with tie ins all over the place with the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Next Time:  Essential: Marvel Horror Vol. 1