Darkness: Vicious Traditions (2014) Review

darknessAlex Kot is mostly known for writing cerebral social commentary, and this one shot doesn’t deviate from his favorite theme. The story begins shortly after Romans have conquered a northern tribe. Estacado, a descendent of the Darkness, awakes among a slaughtered heap of bodies. He begins a quest to seek out the Roman commander Legatus to avenge the death of his brother and tribe. This is a quick paced story splattered with gray mud and gore. What makes this story Kot’s is the internal monologue which kicks against the fourth wall and makes it read like an anti-war sermon. Although Dean Ormston’s backgrounds lack the world building detail, the artistic demonstrations of the death and supernatural quickly remind its readers what comic books can get away with. Besides, with its video games, ongoing and the Top Cow crossovers, the world building isn’t necessary. It still has plenty of other details to absorb. For example, the thick shadows blacking out panels when the Darkness powers begin to seep through is a nice touch. With its writers and fresh artists, Top Cow is a publisher to be reckoned with and this quick one shot is no exception. Just like its big brother Image, it doesn’t matter if you are picking up Artifacts, Darkness, Cyber-Force, or any other Top Cow title. They will all be solid and beautiful reads.

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