Believe it or not, the general seed of this story started as my first Top Cow submission. Particularly my villain of choice, in a way... Hopefully this answers a few mysteries...Happy Halloween!
Synopsis: Jack Ryder has been separated from the Creeper, with the wrong mind in the wrong body. Jack goes to investigate the pharma labs responsible, where multiple subjects have been separated from their "shadow aspects" by mysterious black diamonds., when he is suddenly ambushed...
All backgrounds are flat black. Layout:
Panel 1- Off-kilter POV. The CREEPER is being dragged down to the ground at the legs by a swarm of DARKLINGS. Their teeth and claws are bared and the CREEPER is feeling both tear at him.
(Off-Panel): Well, well...I knew I had tasted your madness before...
(Off-Panel):....didn't I kill you once?
Panel 2- Foreground, the CREEPER is now swarmed to the waist by rabid DARKLINGS; some at the fringes are licking their chops. Behind, the shapes of Drs. SKOLOS and YATZ merge into one, like the weaving of gelatinous tendrils.
SKOLOS: Ah, you and your ilk have an annoying knack for not staying dead.
YATZ: But that will soon change. I see you've met the Darklings.
Panel 3- Foreground, the CREEPER is now dragged lower, and DARKLINGS now clutch about as high as his chest and shoulders; one scratches at his face and his expression is one of fear. Background, the two forms have coalesced into the DARKNESS, approaching from behind; we see his carapace-like armor, but only the glowing blue and pupilless eyes are visible of the head.
DARKNESS: They are an outward extension of the Darkness within Jackie Estacado.
DARKNESS: With him fully in the thrall of the Black Diamond, they are the willing cannon fodder for my army.
Panel 4- Foreground, the CREEPER is now brought to his knees, eyes shut as he starts to panic, the DARKLINGS completely covering him except for his head, and one DARKLING has clamped his mouth shut. Background, the DARKNESS is fully visible, towering over the grand guignol. His faceplate is in place, but instead of Jackie's long black hair, there is a black medieval leather skull-cap with stitching down the middle and two long and thick leather thongs dangling to the chestplate, one in front of each pointed ear.
DARKNESS: I can now hunt the I-Am and mount His head on the topmost spire of my castle. I can raze His creation in the Seven directions.
DARKNESS: Such is the power of the Darkness.
Panel 5- Close-up, the CREEPER's face, eyes wide with the terror of recognition, mouth still clamped by Darkling hands. From behind, the faceplate pulls apart and away from a face, 2/3 darkened, the other third an ashen grey, fiery violet eyes from below the skull-cap, our villain is finally revealed as he grinningly nibbles seductively on the CREEPER's ear. A Darkness-gauntleted hand holds a Black Diamond in front of their gaze.
ECLIPSO: And whose hands are better to wield it than mine.
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