Phil Hester (Writer), Jorge Lucas (Art), and Lee Loughridge (Colors)

I’ve always felt that The Darkness works best when it brings Jackie Estacado’s moral code into the equation and that is exactly what the bulk of this Broken Trinity prequel does. Jackie goes on the warpath when he finds out from The Butcher that some people that used to work underneath him accidentally killed a five year old girl they were holding for ransom. To complicate things (or make the issue feel uneven), some Angelus soldiers are hunting Jackie in what is yet another attempt to destroy The Darkness. The storyline involving the dead little girl is compelling, brutal, and extremely well written. The appearance of the soldiers, however, feels extremely tacked on and seems to force the extremely strong stand-alone Darkness story into being something that it isn’t. That said, as a whole, this is a well done prequel because it gives Jackie a reason to want to be with his daughter, Hope.

As for the technical stuff, Broken Trinity: The Darkness is really the complete package. The dark, gritty artwork by Jorge Lucas and Lee Loughridge fits Phil Hester’s mature, well written story perfectly. My only complaint really is that this serves as an event tie-in and not just a stand-alone one-shot. I would have gladly traded in the Angelus stuff for a more fleshed out narrative about the unauthorized botched ransom job because it focused on Jackie the character as opposed to Jackie the supernatural Darkness wielder.

I highly recommend this one to Darkness fans (or those interested in a good comic), but don’t feel that it is a necessary chapter for those solely interested in the Broken Trinity event. It is an enjoyable read, but fans who have any knowledge of the Darkness/Witchblade/Angelus saga will find that the tie-in aspects of this book feel incredibly familiar (rehashed, even). (Grade: B)

-Kyle Posluszny