By Phil Hester (Writer), Michael Broussard (Pencils), Ryan Winn (Inks), and Arif Prianto (Colors)

The Story: Jackie fights the lady with the red ribbon’s guardian and comes to learn the secret of the curse… and of his break with the Darkness.

What’s Good: The battle between Jackie and the sand guardian feels adequately epic thanks to the exciting, dynamic visuals and the dialogue that flows along with the action. In addition, it’s nice to see what (initially) seems like a throwaway battle used as a springboard for getting the series back to doing what it does best. While I don’t want to spoil anything, let’s just say that it’s good to see Phil Hester move the story away from the Sovereign and back towards the Darkness. I wish I could say more about the issue, but the best stuff is saved for the end (in other words, spoiler territory).

What’s Not So Good: While it’s not a huge distraction, Jackie and the lady with the red ribbon are drawn rather inconsistently. Jackie, in particular, looks like a completely different person at times. Having that irregularity throw you when following the character.

Another complaint I have is that some of the dialogue is a bit too heavy-handed and melodramatic. While it fits the story quite well, it’s still a bit silly from time to time.

Conclusion: The Darkness #77 is just solid all around. The visuals look good, the storytelling is pretty compelling, and the ending is sure to please all fans.

Grade: C+

-Kyle Posluszny