Writer Frank Tieri authored what many consider to be one of the greatest “Wolverine Vs” stories in the character’s history when he pitted the X-Men’s tote-sized terror against the Punisher in “Wolverine” #186. CBR News spoke to Tieri about his newest tale of ultra-violence and revenge, “The Darkness/Wolverine” from Image Comics/Top Cow, and why the two characters make such a great pairing.
“The main similarity I see between the two [characters] is they’re both fighting demons. Figuratively in Logan’s case and quite literally in Jackie’s,” Tieri told CBR News. “The main difference between the two? It’s control. In the end, Jackie will control the Darkness, it won’t control him. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the same can be said about Wolvie and his demons.”
In “The Darkness/Wolverine,” in stores now, the story is set during World War II, in the early days of Wolverine’s life, and sees the character training French resistance fighters in German-occupied France. When the Nazis learn of Wolverine, they call in a similarly unstoppable force to deal with him: the Darkness. An admitted history buff, Tieri was eager to play around with the history of the characters. ” [Wolverine’s] lived a long time, seen a lot of shit we can only see in books and on the History Channel,” said Tieri. “And that’s really had a lot to do with shaping him as a character. Think about it… he’s lived through two World Wars, a Great Depression, etc. No wonder the guy’s so fucked up.”
Readers of “The Darkness” know that Jackie, the Darkness bearer, is not old enough to have been alive during the 1940s, but, as Tieri notes, there have been Darkness bearers all throughout history. After speaking with Top Cow Editor-In-Chief Renae Geerlings, Tieri learned there was in fact a Darkness bearer called Roberto Estacado operating during the same period and who was presumably Jackie’s grandfather.
“Jackie may control an ‘evil’ force, but he himself is not evil,” explained Tieri. “Roberto, on the other hand, is an evil murdering piece of shit…[he] goes above and beyond when he takes a job, killing far more people than necessary. He’s a real bastard.”
Naturally, Wolverine would find such a person disagreeable, and the two settle their differences in a way the Darkness force finds less than acceptable. Back in the present day, Jackie and Wolverine cross paths, and the Darkness force takes Jackie on a wild ride of gut-rendering revenge that Tieri promises will make his classic “Wolverine vs. Punisher” issue seem like “a Disney version.”
” I’m not under the same restrictions here as I was with that issue… With this one, you should probably keep a towel handy to soak up the excess blood and body parts.
“With the Darkling demons and him being able to pull just about any kind of weapon out of the Darkness, Jackie’s sort of the ultimate offense. But when you consider Wolvie and his healing factor and him being able to take so much punishment, he’s sort of the ultimate defense.
“Really, it’s too close to call. Flip a fucking coin or something.”
Illustrating the book is Top Cow artist Tyler Kirkham, whose work on “The Darkness/Wolverine” is sure to get him a lot of attention. Tieri remarked, “[Tyler’s] been great. I’ve asked him to get down and dirty with me in some parts of this and he’s never backed off – like I’ve seen some artists do. I really think he could be the next big thing coming off of this.” Coloring the book directly from Kirkham’s pencils is Stjepan Sejic, who will surely be one of the big colorists when readers see “The Darkness/Wolverine.”
To conclude our talk with the writer, we asked Frank Tieri of the two, Wolverine or the Darkness, is either really the hero in the story? Is anyone in the right?
“Does it really even matter? I’ll tell you what… by the end of this whole thing, after we’ve counted up all the bodies, assessed all the property damage and settled all the lawsuits, the last guy with the most guts left in his belly will be the guy who’s right. Sound fair?”
CBR Staff Writer Andy Khouri contributed to this article.