DARKLON THE MYSTIC

Introduction


"Darklon the Mystic" was an interesting series, and it's particularly noteworthy in that it was the only series--and only major bit of work--produced for Warren Comics by famed writer/artist Jim Starlin. Starlin produced a few other stand-alone stories for Warren, but this was his major contribution to the company, and it allowed him to create a character similar in some ways, but very distinct in other ways, to the cosmic, space-faring heroes that Starlin scribed for Warren rival Marvel Comics during the same era, Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock, and later with his independently owned creation Dreadstar. Starlin specialized in star-faring heroes like the Kree warrior Captain Mar-Vell and Warlock, but those latter heroes were truly heroic, champions who battled for the greater good in the universe. Not so with Darklon the Mystic. Though he also traveled the spaceways--in this case, an alternate future rather than in the outer space environs of the then present of the 1970s, when the series was produced--he was an anti-hero in the most classic sense, even more so than his distant ancestor, the great Warren super-soldier Demian Hunter. Darklon sacrificed his humanity in exchange for tremendous power, but solely for the purpose of avenging his father, not for the greater good. Hence, like other anti-heroes, he was capable of love for family, and the fact that his main antagonist in the series was his own father who wanted his death grieved him terribly. The relationship between Darklon and his father Kavar Darkhold formed a great pathos for the series, and it may have mirrored aspects of Starlin's relationship with his own late father, as the writing seemed to imply.

What was interesting about Jim Starlin's interpretation of the character is that he appeared to use Darklon as an analogue for his real life problems, including his Real Universe [RU] situation with his father, who was then dying of cancer. Starlin is well known for basing some of his stories on his real life travails, as it's popularly known that his graphic novel THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL-where the hero dies of something as lethal but mundane as cancer-was a brilliant tale that captured the grief and denial that Starlin went through when his own father was afflicted with the dread disease. "Darklon the Mystic" was a much more personal series for Starlin than CAPTAIN MARVEL or WARLOCK, and he obviously had greater freedom in producing Darklon for Warren than he did with Captain Marvel or Adam Warlock with Marvel. As such, he was free to connect the struggles of the character with his real life situation in much more profound ways than with the "pure" heroic fiction he did for Marvel at the time. It was only two decades later that Starlin was allowed by the editorial forces at Marvel to re-explore the territory of a dark, self-centered but no less complicated character like Thanos of Titan.

Like Warren's other space-faring heroes, Darklon spent most of his time away from the Earth. In fact, it appears that Starlin had no desire to connect his anti-hero sorcerer with the Earth at all. The idea to do so came from scribe Rich Margopoulos when he did a Hunter/Darklon crossover tale after the "Darklon the Mystic" series had run its course, which brought back both Darklon and Demian Hunter. Though Starlin ended the series with a definitive resolution, he didn't kill Darklon off, and this allowed another writer to use the character again later on (obviously, Warren writers didn't independently own the characters that they created for the company any more than those who worked for Marvel or DC). Whether Darklon (and Hunter) should have been left alone after their respective series ended will be left up to the individual fan boy to decide.

When Darklon was later connected to Demian Hunter, it was made clear that Darklon was a denizen of the Hunter Timeline further into the future than either Demian or Karas Hunter lived (for more on the latter two, see the indexes to "Hunter" and "Hunter 2" respectively, both elsewhere on this site). This meant that Darklon lived in an alternate future (according to my conjecture) of the late 24th century in a different alternate future timeline of the Wold Newton Universe [WNU] than the Star Trek Universe [STU]. The alien races seen in Darklon's universe were, of course, distinct from those we saw in the STU, but humanoid and semi-humanoid races seemed to predominate, and sentient space-faring life was everywhere. This may suggest that the differences between the alien races seen in the Star Trek Timeline and the Hunter Timeline may have been largely artistic license, even though, as a creative mythographer, I'm obviously "reading too much into it."

Due to the fact that Darklon deals with cosmic concepts and represents some excellent work of Jim Starlin, this series should be of great interest to any fan of Starlin, any fan of the Warren output towards the end of its creative heyday, and to all creative mythographers who are interested in exploring alternate future time tracks branching off from the "consensus" WNU that differs from the STU. It's also very interesting to contrast a dark character like Darklon the Mystic with the more clearly heroic characters that Starlin created for Marvel, long before Starlin delved into similar territory with the work he did for the Marvel Universe [MU] character of Thanos during the 1990s and early 2000s. This index will not only cover the entire "Darklon the Mystic" series, but also the Darklon/Hunter crossover story "Ashes to Ashes" by Rich Margopoulos.

EERIE #76
[reprinted in EERIE #137 and DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1 by Pacific Comics]

"Beware Darklon the Mystic"

Story and Art: Jim Starlin

In a distant alternate future (see Time Frame below), an Alphan named Koph-Fan sat in a spaceport cabaret enjoying a drink by candlelight, as he was approached by a tall man wearing a cape and an eye patch. The tall, dark-haired man asked if he could join Koph-Fan, and the latter, obviously suffering from extreme tension, agreed. Both seemed to know who the other was, yet both were deliberately maintaining a sense of false civility to each other. The stranger ordered a drink called a gammabsinthe [oy!]. Koph-Fan warned the stranger that such a drink was known to drive men mad, but the stranger simply smiled and replied, "Madness holds no terror for me…very little in this universe does."

The stranger, however, noticed that Koph-Fan, in contrast, seemed to be suffering a great amount of fear, and he asked the weary Alphan to tell him what was the cause of his trepidation.

Beginning his tale, Koph-Fan stated that he was a professional assassin. Recently, he was offered a well-paying contract on a certain planetary head…a crown prince by the name of Darklon. Since this particular job would be quite difficult, Koph-Fan hired three alien confederates to aid him on this mission. Darklon was described as a prince of a planet called Nebularia, which was, according to Koph-Fan, "a world which, of old, produced a race of warriors who once ruled a thousand planets." Even worse, Darklon was rumored to be a sorcerer, a skilled practitioner of the dark mystic arts. Koph-Fan made sure to be well prepared for this mission, as he did not want to end up the latest victim of Darklon's reputed list of "atrocities."

After much planning, the quartet of assassins landed on Darklon's private planetoid, a mini-world called Grimmore [*groan*], where they were hoping to gain the element of surprise. Upon approaching the lone structure on that planetoid, Castle Cold, they were astounded to find it unguarded and unfortified. Sneaking into the edifice, the four assassins approached the master bedroom, and entered, still evidently unnoticed. Approaching the bed (which was shrouded by a four-sided veil), the four malcontents brandished their weapons (they were called cyno-blasters) and fired into the veil surrounding the bed. When they realized that they had successfully hit someone, they pulled the veil aside and discovered, to their shock and consternation, that Darklon himself was never on the bed…all that lay there was the bloodied body of a concubine of the sorcerer. Realizing that their only chance of succeeding was to take the dark prince unawares, and knowing that Darklon's legendary vengeance would soon descend upon them for daring to kill a plaything of his, the four assassins fled Castle Cold and tried to put as many light years between them and the mini-world of Grimmore as possible.

The four agreed to each go into hiding to escape the wrath of Darklon. Koph-Fan went to a secluded cabin on a backwater planet that was far from the normally traveled spaceways. There he felt safe for several weeks, until he discovered the severed head of one of his confederates, Kraylock, stuck onto a post outside of his cabin. Retreating to his starhopper, which was located at a nearby spaceport, Koph-Fan discovered the body of another of his confederates, Bak Staf, tied to the controls of the starhopper. Quickly fleeing from the starhopper, Koph-Fan raced to his ground vehicle, only to find the last of his partners-in-crime, Tou-Mar, crucified to the speedster.
Koph-Fan then fled the speedster in abject terror, realizing that he was soon going to experience a horrible death of his own once Darklon found him. After coming to his senses, he found himself drinking in the cabaret, and he then concluded his tale to the stranger who joined him at the table.

When the stranger asked Koph-Fan why he thinks Prince Darklon left him for last, Koph-Fan replied that since he was the one who accepted the contract, only he could give the demon-prince the name of the person who ordered the hit. As the errant assassin explained that Darklon would want this knowledge before murdering him, he stealthily removed a small but powerful weapon from his boot and fired a tremendous phaser-like beam of energy at the stranger, the impact shattering the entire table.
The "stranger" was, of course, Darklon himself, and Koph-Fan knew this.

However, to his horror, Koph-Fan realized that Darklon's body wasn't in front of him. Looking around for his foe in a state of panic, Koph-Fan suddenly had his right arm ripped from his body from behind [there certainly wasn't any security in these spaceports!]. His adversary falling to the ground in a state of extreme pain, Darklon mockingly told Koph-Fan that he would spare him a slow and horrendous death, as he delivered to his three confederates, if he gave him the name of the person who ordered the kill. Acceding to the deal of a quick death in return for the information, Koph-Fan told Darklon that the name of the person who ordered the hit was someone called Kavar Darkhold.

Reacting with extreme incredulity to this info, Darklon angrily accused the hapless Koph-Fan of lying, and he grabbed the fallen man by the throat and incinerated him with a powerful bolt of mystical energy. Darklon then dejectedly told himself that he could not accept this news-as cold-hearted as he was, he noted that there were a few individuals that he did indeed hold dear, and one of them was Kavar Darkhold…his father.

Comments: This was a marvelous first entry in the series, and the rest of the series never quite added up to this great first tale. Though the story wasn't overly complex (as Starlin had only a small number of pages in which to tell the tale) he nevertheless crafted a great introduction to Darklon the Mystic. As noted in the Introduction above, this was during the same era that Starlin was writing CAPTAIN MARVEL and WARLOCK for Marvel, and Darklon contrasted nicely with these characters, as he represented less the heroic ideal of Marv-Ell and Adam Warlock and more a great, decadent power fantasy for the readers. Darklon also appeared to represent Starlin's inner anger over various personal aspects of his life personified.

The artwork was as well done by Starlin as the writing. Though known more for his writing than his art, Starlin was a highly competent master of the pencil.

Starlin never gave a time period as to when this story took place. Since he never seemed to mention Earth (Darklon's Terran ancestry was later revealed by an entirely different creative team, after this series had ended) it's quite possible that Starlin never intended for this series to take place in an alternate future, but rather the outer space environs of the then present, as was the case with Adam Warlock's stories. In fact, it was likely never Jim Starlin's intention to connect this series to the Hunter Timeline of the Warrenverse, but a later story by Rich Margopoulos did this very thing. Though Starlin noted that Darklon was born on Nebularia, it would later be revealed that his ancestry was derived from Earth (see the story "Ashes to Ashes," indexed below).

At some point shortly after this story, Darklon the Mystic was briefly transported back to the year 1981 by the techno-wizard Ten-Ichi to battle Vampirella and several other anachronauts, alongside a second 'Time Force.' This story was chronicled in EERIE #130, and is indexed in detail in the "Vampirella and the Time Force" Index elsewhere on this site. That was one of two crossovers between Darklon and other Warrenverse characters.

Darklon's origin is revealed in the next entry in the series.

WNU Connections: Darklon's stories took place in the distant future of the Hunter Timeline, which is an alternate time track of the "consensus" WNU, distinct from either the Star Trek Timeline or the Non-Trek/Legion future that has been studied by other creative mythographers. However, as was revealed in EERIE #130, Darklon's future timeline was accessible from the mainstream WNU of the present. It wasn't until the Hunter/Darklon the Mystic crossover story in EERIE #121 that Darklon was officially brought into the WNU.

Though the alien races seen in this series do not resemble any from the STU, it's quite possible that this was simply artistic license on Starlin's part. It's also possible that on this particular future time track, the various alien races familiar to Trekkies evolved a bit differently. Darklon appeared to inhabit a universe in which capitalism and profiteering remained among the advanced star-faring races, and analogues of all the problems such a society creates were evident on a macrocosmic scale in this universe. It's possible that the future timeline inhabited by Darklon the Mystic may be on a different time track than that inhabited by the starfaring soldier Mac Tavish, even though both were accessible from the WNU of the present, as seen in EERIE #130.

Time Frame: This story takes place, by my conjecture, at some point in the late 24th century of the Hunter Timeline, though it isn't until EERIE #121 that it's revealed that Darklon exists on the same timeline as Demian Hunter.

EERIE #79
[reprinted in DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1 by Pacific Comics]

"The Price"

Story and Art: Jim Starlin

Prince Darklon returns to his home planet of Nebularia, specifically the great capitol city of Nebulor (Nebulor is a huge city that hovers high above the ground on anti-grav units), to investigate the recent claims that his father, Kavar Darkhold, was behind the assassins who have recently plagued him. This caused the prince to think back to his origin.

Many years past, Darkhold was the kavar of Nebularia, who ruled this planet and the thousand other worlds that made up its interstellar empire. As Darklon mused, the kavar was "the ultimate product of a dozen centuries' experience in tyranny and warfare." Unfortunately, the kavar was ashamed of his son, Darklon. The sire and his son were very different from each other in regards to their choice of life style. Darklon was much more interested in studying, the mystic arts, women, and the "gentler paths of life" than the Nebularian love of warfare that Darkhold embraced. Eventually, as Darklon grew to full maturity, these differences between father and son grew into mistrust and mutual hatred. The only thing that kept Darkhold from exiling his son was his strong appreciation for familial tradition, and the only thing that kept Darklon from leaving his homeworld was a promise from his mother on her deathbed (this was the only time that Darklon's mother was mentioned in the series).

In time, Kavar Darkhold became close to a young man named Tarus Blacklore, who shared the former's interest in bloodshed and war-mongering and thus became something akin to his surrogate son. Little was Darkhold aware that behind the scenes, Blacklore was convinced that the great warworld of Nebularia would fall once the prince ascended to the throne, and he managed to convince many that a regime change was needed immediately.
One evening, Darklon was awakened in his bed during a tryst with a woman by the sounds of laser fire and other weapons, and he rushed downstairs to find his father battling courageously on his own against a rebellion of various alien soldiers from elsewhere in the empire (see Comments below). Finally laid low by a blow from behind, the great Darkhold was chained and, looking up upon the balcony, he locked eyes with his horrified son. Darklon responded by fleeing the castle, and this enraged the (former) kavar.

The errant prince ran all the way to the home of his guide in the dark arts, a one-eyed alien named Xiom-Tarr [and Darklon didn't even bother to put a pair of pants on before rushing over there!]. The alien mystic told Darklon that he lacked the means to give him the power to avenge his father, but he knew of the one being who could…the dark entity known as the Nameless One.
Within two nights, Darklon stood before the Chamber of the Screaming Skull, the dwelling place of the dark god-like Nameless One, a being who of tremendous mystical power who had once been worshipped as a deity in centuries past, but whose worship was long since outlawed on Nebularia due to the being's "black nature and demands."

Upon demanding an audience with the Nameless One, the latter responded to Darklon with a small horde of attacking demons in solid bio-etheric form. Armed with both a sword and a laser pistol, and possessing rather formidable martial arts skills that his father forced him to learn in his youth, Darklon battled and defeated all of the attacking demons [which makes one wonder why he didn't simply aid his father against the rebels instead of fleeing]. With the demons defeated, Darklon guessed that his request for an audience with the Nameless One had been granted, so he entered the dark one's chambers.

There the prince confronted the Nameless One sitting on his throne…with the dark one resembling a 25 foot tall male humanoid wearing a hooded garment that concealed all of his facial features save for two glowing eyes. He spoke in a thunderous voice. The Nameless One was an old enemy of Kavar Darkhold, and he asked what brought his foe's offspring to his domain. Darklon requested the power to "smite down my enemies." Though the dark deity was a bit disappointed at such an unoriginal request, he asked the prince if he intended to use the power for good or evil [a rather subjective question, to be sure]. Darklon believed that he was going to be using the power for good. To which the Nameless One [in a Classic Dialogue moment] replied, "Fine. I've found good intentions to be a greater destructive force than the blackest heart."

Since destruction was what the evil being was most interested in, he agreed to grant Darklon his request…at a price [you knew this was coming]. Darklon simply replied, "Aid me and all that is mine to give is yours." With the deal struck, the Nameless One ordered several more of his demons to grasp the prince and force him down on an altar. One of the demons then brandished an ax and proceeded to chop Darklon's head off, thus taking his soul and initiating him into the Nameless One's order.

As Darklon completed his thoughts about his origin (which was continued into the next story), he noted, "So it ended, his father imprisoned, a usurper sitting on his throne, himself murdered and his soul in the hands of a depraved god.
"From these ashes a phoenix would rise.
"I, Darklon the Mystic, would be that legendary bird. Yes, I would rise with power as my life, but domination as my fate" [it's interesting that the story of the Phoenix was so universal, and this appears to be a hint that Nebularians did indeed have cultural contact with Earth, and were thus familiar with its legends and myths…it's also interesting that the Phoenix was the symbol of choice for Karas Hunter, too].

Comments: This tale featured part 1 of the origin of Darklon the Mystic, which took up the great majority of the chapter, with Darklon's return to Nebularia making up the very small framing sequence. The world of Darklon was noteworthy in the way it combined space opera with magick, and would thus be interesting to those who enjoyed a merging of genres.

The nature of the Nameless One is largely unknown, i.e., whether he was an evil god or an archdemon of great power, or even an abstract entity of some sort. Interestingly, he greatly resembled the Time Trapper from the DC Universe. Both villains were introduced in the 1970s, and it's possible that one inspired the design of the other, though it is, admittedly, a rather generic look for a sinister villain character.

Starlin had a love for drawing his various alien characters in really bizarre fashion, something he did for the aliens he rendered for his Marvel Comics series also. In fact, one may presume artistic license in regards to how these often oddball aliens looked…one of them in this story had its mouth situated above its eyes, and this is hardly a logical biological choice, considering its food and saliva would often get into its eyes. Nevertheless, this story did make it clear that the Nebularian empire encompassed the worlds of many alien races.

Nebularia was depicted as a warlike planet, with citizens who used both advanced laser-firing weapons and medieval style striking or slashing weapons, such as swords and axes. In this sense, they were similar to the Klingon culture of the STU.

WNU Connections: As noted above in the Comments section, several of the alien races depicted in this series were likely derived from the artistic license conceits of creator Jim Starlin, and likely didn't "actually" look that way. Humanoid and semi-humanoid races with features similar to those found on Earth organisms (e.g., two eyes on head, situated above the nose and mouth, etc.) seem to predominate in the WNU, despite certain distinctly non-humanoid races such as the Sarmaks. In other words, contrary to the pencils of certain artists, nature didn't appear to create bizarre monstrosities that made no biological sense simply because it can…in the WNU, like the RU, nature appears to go with what works according to a logical consistency, even if life appears in much more varied and fantastic forms in the WNU.

Time Frame: The brief framing sequence in this story took place about a few days to a few weeks following the last story. The origin flashback took place an unknown number of years in the past.

EERIE #80
[reprinted in DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1 by Pacific Comics]

"Retribution"

Story and Art: Jim Starlin

This story is preceded by a splash panel recap of the first chapter of Darklon's origin account, leading up to what directly followed those events (in this recap, it was revealed that Darklon was twenty years old when the events of his origin occurred).

As Chapter 2 of the origin begins, the story starts off right after Darklon's head was severed by the demonic minions of the Nameless One, and the latter claimed his soul.
The Nameless One ordered his minions to continue initiating Darklon through what the former called a "black baptism and rebirth." One of the demons carved out the left eye on Darklon's severed head, and then placed the head atop the blood-soaked stone altar. The Nameless One then stepped in and suffused Darklon's head with a huge amount of the dark one's own mystical energies, transforming it into a living battery of such power. The prince then felt his consciousness pass through the prism of his entire life, reliving all of his life's events and realizing that all of it was but an illusion [could it be that the good prince made a self-referential realization that he was actually a comic book character in one reality, and that his whole life was indeed 'illusory' in this respect? You may doubt this, but a later story in the series will make you wonder if author Starlin was playing such metaphysical games with his readers].

Successfully fulfilling his black baptism and rebirth, Darklon awakened to find his head attached to a new body created for him by the Nameless One, with a patch over his missing eye. When Darklon asked the elder god why he shattered all of the illusions of his life, the dark one simply replied that to be any use to him, the prince needed to know the truth. The Nameless One then explained that he needed to replace Darklon's body with a new one of his own creation, because the old one would not be able to house the vast mystical energies that were now a part of him. Then turning his attention to Darklon's new eye, he noted that the ocular organ had been replaced with the Orb of Hell, a bauble that enable the prince "to gaze into forbidden nether regions, and draw strength and aid from them."
As Darklon looked down upon the headless corpse of his original body, which lay on the floor of the chamber, he noted that this baptism cost him his life, to which the Nameless One replied that it cost him all that he once had, and that his fate also belonged to the elder god to mold to his will.
Resigning himself to his new existence, Darklon retorted, "I fear I shall never again taste the fine nectar of joy. Then I shall instead drink from the ebony goblet of revenge. Revenge against one I have never met, who has driven me to this damnation."

Prince Darklon was now transformed into the dread Darklon the Mystic, and he left the edifice of the Nameless One to return to Nebularia's capitol city to exact his revenge. No one in the city noticed his return, for the soldiers were preparing to invade and conquer another planet [interestingly, the war craft were drawn to somewhat resemble Earth rockets…this may have been artistic license on Starlin's part]. The new Kavar Blacklore didn't fear retribution from Darklon, as he had not yet discovered what the prince had become. Upon returning to the city of Nebulor, the newly transformed Darklon, now fueled with extreme rage, launched a reign of terror and vengeance against anyone who supported Blacklore's rebellion, killing all of these individuals in ruthless fashion, in methods that often involved crucifixion and dismemberment.
Finally, Darklon confronted Kavar Blacklore himself, and told him that because of the usurper, he had lost everything that he once held dear, including the love of his father and his birthright to the throne. Telling him that his life was now forfeit, Darklon destroyed Blacklore's body with a bolt of mystical force.

Darklon then freed his father from confinement, and told him that the throne of Nebularia was once again his [don't ask me why Blacklore didn't have Darkhold executed]. After thanking his son, Darkhold was told regretfully that his son could no longer be heir to the throne, as he now served a different liege. "Heaven and Hell have determined a new path for me, which leads away from Nebularia," Darklon stated and immediately left his world behind.

This ended Darklon's reminiscences of his origin, and his mind back on the present, he now continued his trek towards Nebulor to find out if it was true that his recent plague of assassins were indeed hired by his father.

Comments: This story featured Chapter 2 of Darklon's two-part origin story. Since the entire series ran five entries, it's rather unfortunate that the origin story took up two chapters, which was a sizable chunk of the series (the next story was a complete interlude from the main series).

WNU Connections: In this story, the Nameless One is described as an elder god. Numerous such entities in the various chronicles have been described as "elder gods," and it's not certain to which group of 'elder gods' in the WNU that the Nameless One may be connected to. He didn't appear to be a Lovecraftian entity, as his appearance and motivations didn't match that of such entities.

Time Frame: The very brief framing sequence in this story took place immediately following the framing sequence from the previous story. Likewise, the origin flashback sequence took place immediately after the previous chapter's flashback sequence, occurring an unknown number of years in the past.

EERIE #84
[reprinted in DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1 by Pacific Comics]

"He Who Waits in Shadow"

Story and Art: Jim Starlin

Sitting at some point in space and time (but probably circa 1978) is a man named Jim Starlin, a writer/artist. He is in emotional turmoil, lamenting a great love that he lost [and aren't love and hate the proverbial flip side of the same coin anyway?]. He appeared to personify his own dark temper as a demon who warred against a "guardian" in his mind, the former always triumphing, with the result being that a woman he loved had been driven from his life. He sees the victory of the "black one" occur by the sea, the spawning ground for all life. He sees that personified entity laying deep within him, as he falls into despair, an entity he simply refers to as "he who waits in shadow." This entity was depicted in this story as a demonic statue with a lit candle on top. As Starlin notes, "I should have realized I couldn't play his game and hope to win. He set the rules and called the stakes. I never had a chance."

Because he had sat up so many nights in deep depression, Jim was now only contemplating suicide, and he did so by jumping out of his upper floor apartment complex. As he died [metaphorically?], a demonic hand snuffed out the candle.
The quiet was interrupted only by a sudden knock at his door.

Epilogue: "The Knock"

Following a knock on the door, Darklon the Mystic enters the apartment, looking for Jim. He asked about how Jim was going to get him out of the situation the writer/artist involved him in with his father. Seeing Jim's body laying on the ground outside the window, Darklon realized that is what he gets for dealing with a "fruitcake," and realizing that it was up to him alone to deal with the problem, he cast a spell that sent him back to his own time period.

Comments: This story was almost entirely an aside from the Darklon saga, as the master mage only appears in the epilogue. The rest was a metaphysical and metaphorical musing by Jim Starlin, who seemed to be putting his real life depression to paper. It's probable that he was having serious personal problems at the time, and working for Warren afforded him the opportunity he lacked at Marvel to get these problems down for him to deal with in this manner. This story can be skipped by those who are researching Darklon's saga, and I have included it here only for the purpose of completeness.

Starlin may also have been influenced by fellow writers Steve Gerber and Chris Claremont, both of whom had written themselves into the final issue of each of their respective runs on the Man-Thing over at Marvel (the former in volume 1 of that series, the latter in volume 2). Since this Darklon story was published in 1978, both of those strange crossovers between real life and fiction would have been fresh in the memory of the comic book world.

For further ruminations, see WNU Connections below.

This story, being an aside, avoided dealing with Darklon's mission to discover the truth about the claim that his father had hired the recent spate of assassins that had been bothering Darklon; that storyline was picked up in the next and final entry in the series. For some reason, it was 16 issues before Starlin concluded the series, in EERIE #100.

This whole story, save for the epilogue, was told with philosophical captions. Darklon was given dialogue in the epilogue.

This Darklon story got the cover of EERIE #84, courtesy of the great Frank Frazetta (one of his lesser creations, IMO), but Darklon himself didn't even appear there. Instead, we got Jim Starlin's metaphysical "he who waits in shadows" demon fighting his guardian, which resembled a medieval warrior armed with a sword and shield.

WNU Connections: How this story fits into the Darklon saga as an "actual" occurrence is subject to theory…one of which I will now offer. It appears that in the WNU, Darklon may have maintained a connection to Earth, a land where his ancestry lay, but not the Earth of his own time period…rather, the Earth of the late 1970s. It was later shown that he had the ability to create mystical transtemporal warps and travel through time, so it's possible that this is what he was doing here. He may have discovered that he had some sort of mystical or metaphysical sympathetic relationship with Jim Starlin of the WNU, who sometimes was able to influence his life by composing Darklon stories for Warren Comics in the WNU. It's my theory that in the WNU, the writers and artists working for Warren Comics of that reality had inside knowledge on a lot of bizarre and paranormal phenomena that was going on in the world, including events in other times and places in the universe…this caused the Warren staff to sometimes interact with the individuals who they wrote for, just as the Archie Goodwin of the WNU was actually approached by Vampirella and seduced into writing her stories. It may have been a similar situation between Darklon and Starlin (sans the seduction, of course), but in this case with Starlin actually able to influence some of Darklon's life experiences across time and space. Darklon's great mystical abilities, including his ability to see across the spectrum of time and reality with his Orb of Hell, may have enabled him to become 'self-referentially' aware of this situation, or even of the fact that he was a fictional character in one reality (the Real Universe).

If this story is taken as literal truth, it's possible that the Jim Starlin of the WNU was deceased, or at least seriously injured.

Of course, readers are free to ignore this story as a curious little oddity, courtesy of Starlin's depressed ramblings, if they so choose.

Time Frame: This story seemed to take place at some point in the late 1970s, perhaps 1978. Darklon appears to have mystically transwarped to that time period to acquire advice from Jim Starlin of the WNU, and this presumably occurred prior to the dark prince setting off for Nebularia.

EERIE #100
[reprinted in DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1 by Pacific Comics]

"Duel"

Story and Art: Jim Starlin

This tale begins with a two paneled splash page that contrasts Darklon the Mystic with his father, Kavar Darkhold, ruler of the great warworld Nebularia.

The story then focuses on Wildwood Hospital, located in a quiet New England suburb of the planet Earth (called Tellus by the people of Nebularia) in the year 1979. Two doctors (one of them named Dr. Hoffsteader) entered the room housing two patients, a father and his son, both of whom have been catatonic for a little over a year. The two were found in the same condition simultaneously, several miles from each other, and the doctors noted that both had been involved in a serious personal feud and had not talked to each other in a long time. Most interesting was that both appeared to be in a near-constant state of dreaming (see Comments and WNU Connections below).

In the meantime, back in the future on Nebularia, Darklon finally confronted his father, the Kavar Darkhold. Darkhold admitted to his son that he did indeed hire the assassins that where plaguing Darklon, because circumstances in the empire left him no choice but to seek his son's death. Though Darklon had no more interest in being heir to the throne of Nebularia, lest it end up under the control of the Nameless One (Darklon agreed to give the elder god everything that was ever his in exchange for the power he granted him), and allowed his father to choose his own heir, the kavar explained that according to non-amendable Nebularian law going back several centuries, as long as one member of the bloodline to the throne remained alive, no replacement could be found. Thus, the empire was in turmoil over its future, as there was no one in line that could be legally allowed to succeed Darkhold as long as Darklon still lived [wouldn't Darklon be aware of this law? I guess not]. Thus, Darkhold had no choice under Nebularian law but to attempt to have his son killed.

When Darklon asked how they might resolve this unfortunate situation. Darkhold presented him with a device called a bio-disrupter dueling meter. Each of them would grasp one of the device's handles in their hands, and once activated, it would link the two on the psychic plane. There, the father and son would battle each other with their own willpower, with the loser ultimately dying.
Meanwhile, back at Wildwood Hospital on Earth circa 1979, Dr. Hoffsteader and his partner noticed that their two comatose patients were suddenly suffering from dangerously elevated cardiovascular activity.

As Darklon and his father continued their battle across the psionic realm, the text noted, "A son in rebellion. A father crushing a rebellion. Forever in conflict, these two…damning their differences, never noticing their similarities."

As the great psionic battle of wills reached its climax, Darklon's great mystical ability enabled him to prove triumphant over his father's indomitable will, and the kavar disintegrated into a large pool of blood upon losing.
In the meantime, back on Earth circa 1979, the two doctors noticed that the elder patient suffered a massive coronary and died, whereas the son's vitals began rapidly stabilizing, and it looked as if he would recover.

Darklon now found himself the ruler of Nebularia. Following this realization, the Nameless One appeared, boasting that his plans had now come to fruition. As the elder god explained to the new kavar of Nebularia, since he had agreed to give him everything that was his in exchange for their deal, Nebularia now belonged to the Nameless One. He then explained what his plans were. Centuries ago, an ancestor of Darklon, Darklore the second, was responsible for outlawing all of the Nameless One's cults of worship, thus denying him great influence over the planet and succeeding in trapping his power in his skull-shaped citadel. The Nameless One vowed to take revenge, and now he had succeeded in doing so. As he continued to explain, when Darklon came to him for aid, he breached the spell that kept the elder god restrained, and upon killing his father and becoming the new kavar, he fully unleashed the Nameless One to unrestricted access to the planet, and he vowed to wreak havoc upon this world.

The Nameless One then exiled Darklon, taunting him with the following statement: "I will find it amusing to know that you are out amidst the stars somewhere agonizing over every atrocity you hear I have perpetrated upon your beloved homeworld."

Encasing himself in a mystical sphere of energy, Darklon began leaving his planet…but not before he hit a self-destruct lever on the throne, which existed unbeknownst to the Nameless One. Hitting this lever dropped a canister deep down into the bowels of the planet, and it landed in a huge chemical vat. Causing a deadly chain reaction in the chemicals situated near the heart of the planet, Darklon shed tears as the globe of energy carrying him outside the atmosphere of his homeworld passed out of orbit, and he witnessed the result of the aforementioned chain reaction he created…the complete destruction of the entire planet of Nebularia, a blast so powerful that not even the Nameless One could survive it.
Thus, the new kavar chose to destroy his homeworld and the 20 billion individuals living on it rather than allow it to be subject to the Nameless One's control and defamation [rather extreme, don't you think?]. But as the new sovereign of the Nebularian empire, the decision was his to make.

And Darklon would have to live with this decision for the rest of his life, even as, back on Earth in 1979, Dr. Hoffsteader decreed that the younger of his two patients appeared to be okay.

Comments: This story ended the "Darklon the Mystic" series. The ending was as tragic as could be expected, even though it's likely that Starlin wanted to use the character again in the future since he didn't kill him off (Warren characters would often be killed off at the end of their respective series). As it turned out, it was another creative team who used Darklon in a new story two years later, where Darklon was connected to the Hunter Timeline, something that Starlin never seems to have intended.

This was basically a well-done series, even though Starlin never had the time to develop the character as he did with fellow cosmic heroes Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, and Dreadstar. It's largely remembered by Warren fans now mainly because it was the only major body of work produced for Warren by Starlin.

In this story, it was revealed that Darklon was the sixth individual of the royal family of Nebularia to hold that name.

Jim Starlin enjoyed tackling various themes in his stories, but using a cosmic frame of reference in which to expound upon them. Since Darklon's series didn't run nearly as long as other series that Starlin worked on, he only had the time to tackle one particular theme at length…what a father and son who have irreconcilable differences with each other go through, and how this type of resentment can create such a rift between family members. This may suggest that Starlin himself experienced such problems in his personal life.
An exception to this is the story "He Who Waits in Shadow," which is an interlude from the series, where Starlin tackles his own inner demons. That interlude may also suggest that if Starlin had created Darklon for Marvel, instead of Warren, he may have tackled many different themes as the series progressed. Since Jim Warren didn't tend to appreciate having a creative staff that worked for the competition, it would be interesting to know how Starlin, who wrote quite a bit for Marvel during the 1970s, got a gig at Warren.

Starlin never explained the connection between the situation involving Darklon and his father the Kavar Darkhold, and the mirror of that situation with the comatose father and son back on (then) present day Earth. Starlin liked to play with metaphysical concepts, as he did with the previous story in this series (indexed above), so I will attempt to make sense of it down below in WNU Connections. Note how the father and son were both found comatose a little over a year previous to that story, which would make it sometime in 1978…could there be some connection to the previous story, which likewise took place in 1978?

Darklon the Mystic appears next in the story "Ashes to Ashes" from EERIE #121, where he crosses over with Demian Hunter.

WNU Connections: It's this author's personal theory that Darklon had a great deal of psychic connection with people on the mainstream WNU Earth in the late 1970s. This seemed to be the case with the Jim Starlin of the WNU in the previous story, and it also appeared to be the case with the unnamed father and son patients of this tale. It appeared that the two of them became psychically connected to Darklon and Darkhold due to the similarity of their situations, and the two played out their drama in a psychic dream state, in accordance with Darklon and his father.

Time Frame: The sequences involving Darklon and Kavar Darkhold took place two days after the framing sequence in the previous story. The psychically connected story of the father and son team on Earth was said to take place in 1979.

Darklon the Mystic/Hunter Crossover

EERIE #121

"Ashes to Ashes"

Story: Rich Margopoulos

Art: Al Sanchez

"Back" in the year 2108 [according to my conjecture; see Time Frame below] on the Hunter Timeline of the Warrenverse, just prior to Demian Hunter entering Bathory Castle in the area of mutated wildlife nicknamed "Hell" (referred to as the 'Hellands' in this story; see the Hunter story in EERIE #56), Hunter's father, the mutant leader General Ophal, was leading a small contingent of his troops through the area towards an unknown destination. Suddenly, Ophal's head started throbbing as he psychically sensed the near-presence of his son, Demian Hunter. Ophal ordered one of his troops, the respected and feared Sergeant Krath, to take a small detachment of troops and head for Bathory Castle and pose as the general, hoping to deter Hunter from interfering with their quest, and Krath happily obliged, eager to prove himself after losing one of his arms at the battle of Phalmark Phal.
Suddenly, one of the mutant soldiers was distracted when he believed that he saw a bearded human male wearing animal skins standing nearby. Ophal stated that he saw or smelled nothing, and ordered his troops to move on.

Meanwhile, further into the future on this timeline, at some point later in the 24th century [again, according to my conjectures], Darklon the Mystic sat in an interstellar bar, enjoying a gammabsinthe drink that a stranger just purchased for him (the bartender was a Cassiopean, the alien race to which the Pie belonged, thus creating yet another Warrenverse crossover; see my index to "The Pie" elsewhere on this site). The bartender told Darklon that the stranger who purchased the drink for him was an Earthling, and the man was a dead-ringer for the bearded human whom the mutant soldier sighted in the Hellands on Earth centuries earlier. The mysterious Earthling wished Darklon good fortune, and asked Darklon to "do something about those demons." Darklon didn't understand what that remark meant, and when he looked back, he noticed that the mysterious man had vanished.

Just then, before Darklon could react to this mystery, a giant, cloaked and hooded figure suddenly appeared in the bar through a mystically created space warp, accompanied by five armed alien mercenaries, who had been hired from various parts of the galaxy. This hooded figure said that he was known as the Acolyte [no relation to Mike Ongsingco from the MONSTAAH crew! At least, I hope not!]. The Acolyte was the successor to the Nameless One, whom Darklon had slain, and this incredibly powerful being was seeking revenge. Darklon quickly materialized a sword and shield composed of astral light, and attacked the mercenaries, only to find the attack completely ineffective, thanks to a spell performed by the Acolyte. Darklon realized that he needed some assistance, and he determined that the place to look (perhaps psychically inspired by the mysterious Earthling he met) was Earth in the past.

Quickly creating a transtemporal warp in the space/time continuum, Darklon appeared in the Hellands outside of Bathory Castle on Earth in the year 2108, just following Demian Hunter's final adventure (as seen in EERIE #57), and the dark mystic noticed the super-soldier's grave. Darklon was incredulous at seeing Hunter's grave, because according to the history that he had studied, Hunter should now be alive. However, Darklon realized that the grave could not have been dug more than an hour previous, and because it was so soon in the past that the super-soldier expired, he should be able to use his magicks to completely heal Hunter of his wounds and to therefore cause his soul to return to his body. Quickly performing the spell, Hunter was indeed healed from the poison spear wound that Krath, posing as Ophal, had killed him with, and his soul was restored to his body (probably because it had left it only a short time before; people can be revived in such a manner if they are healed from their wounds just a short time after they had been killed). Upon recovering, Hunter was grateful that the mysterious man before him had saved his life, and he offered to assist him.
Just then, a space/time warp heralded the transtemporal arrival of the Acolyte and his five alien mercenaries. Darklon suggested to Hunter that they rush into nearby Bathory Castle to make their stand there. After entering the castle, Darklon then told Hunter that they should split up to rout their adversaries, and Hunter approved of this stratagem.

After the Acolyte and his accomplices entered the castle, he told his mercenaries to take care of Hunter while the successor to the Nameless One handled Darklon [I find myself wondering why a being as powerful as the Acolyte felt that he needed the help of these mercenaries…oh well, it worked for the purposes of this story, so Hunter had something to do].
The leader of the mercenary team, a robotic alien called a mandroid, wanted to take Hunter's head for himself, and thus he was the first to enter the chamber where the super-soldier awaited them…only to literally lose his own head.

Following Darklon into the bowels of the castle, the Acolyte discovered the inoperative MX nuclear missile that had been placed there by the Pentagon during the 'Demon Wars,' but never fired. There, Darklon engaged the Acolyte, only to find that his magick was no match for the power of the latter.

In the meantime, elsewhere in the castle, Hunter was having much better luck, and he easily dispatched the remaining four mercenaries in a brief but fierce battle.

Realizing that he had to take extreme measures, Darklon summoned the power of his Orb of Hell (embedded in place of his left eye), and threw all of its great crimson energies at the Acolyte, using its power as never before. However, even this proved insufficient, as the Acolyte simply absorbed the arcane energies of the Orb of Hell and threw them back at Darklon. As Darklon fell to his knees, the Acolyte materialized an axe in his hand, and removed his hood, revealing himself as having a skull composed of black crystal, believing that the dark mage should see the 'face' of his executioner.

With the realization that Darklon couldn't win with his mystical powers, it instead occurred to him to try a different gambit. Utilizing his martial arts skills, Darklon flew into the air and unexpectedly kicked the Acolyte, taking him off guard and causing him not only to miss with his axe strike, but also to fall over the ledge of the balcony he was standing on, landing near the bottom of the missile. Darklon then sent a bolt of mystical energy into the bottom of the rocket, triggering its blast sequence in the process. Managing to seal himself in a protective mystical sphere, Darklon weathered the extreme heat and flames, but the Acolyte was destroyed (though superior to Darklon in might, the Acolyte appeared to be less powerful than the Nameless One, at least at this point in his succession, as it took the destruction of an entire planet to dispatch the Nameless One).

Bathory Castle then collapsed as a result of the explosion, and Hunter escaped just in time. Darklon then appeared alive behind him and told him that they had triumphed. Hunter then noted that the demons were now all extinct, and with their passing, so passed his purpose in life. However, Darklon, who was familiar with the history of this time period, informed Hunter that a group of mutants had indeed survived, in the following manner.
Many generations ago, before the war, the U.S. government had experimented with suspended animation techniques as a means of saving imperiled politicians in case of a nuclear war, and towards that end had created a hidden mountain base chamber of such cryo-cylinders. General Ophal discovered the existence and location of that mountain chamber, and because the mutant race was now being afflicted by a radioactive virus that was mutating the race even further (into creatures referred to as "goblins," which may imply some connection to the goblins from the "Hunter 2" series; see the Index to "Hunter 2" elsewhere on this site), Ophal resolved to make use of the suspended animation chamber. As a result of the aforementioned virogen, Ophal called off his continuing war with the human race and decided to seek out the suspended animation technology, to sleep out the effects of the virogen and emerge to threaten humanity anew at some point in the future.

Hunter told Darklon that they should discover the location of the demons' cryo-chambers and kill them in their sleep, but the mage warned the super-soldier that it was protected by a series of sophisticated traps that neither of them could get through [not even Darklon? This astounds me! Something tells me that he deterred Hunter from doing this simply to let history play itself out as he remembered it…see below].

Darklon then told Hunter that since humankind would need a savior in the future demon wars that would result, the mage molecularly rearranged Hunter's uniform into a new costume (with a skull-like insignia in the middle), along with giving him a brand new helmet. He then encased Hunter in a mystical oval-shaped construct and sent it under the ground, in the area of his grave, and he decreed that Demian Hunter would remain there in suspended animation until the moment that General Ophal and his demons revived from their own suspended animation; then, Hunter's magickal ovoid would dissolve and he would be restored to full consciousness, there to continue his mission of killing the remaining mutants.
Darklon noted, "As I return you to the Earth's womb…it would seem fate had a double purpose in bringing me here! Not only did I need your aid in defeating the Acolyte…but I had to also insure your own survival! For you are my ancestor…and I, your descendant!"

Darklon then noted that his ability to tap mystical forces resulted from the half-breed genes of Hunter [actually, if you read Darklon's origin story, this power supposedly came entirely from the Nameless One replacing his original body and left eye with conjured replacements, so this new explanation is probably apocryphal]. With that noted, Darklon created a new mystical transtemporal space warp to bring him back to his own time period.

Appearing behind him was the same bearded man that he (and that mutant soldier) saw before…and this man revealed himself to be Quarb, the immortal progenitor of the entire human race, and he apparently manipulated Darklon's intention to return to this time and place to save Hunter so that Quarb's beloved human race would stand a chance against surviving the future mutant attack. Quarb then recovered Hunter's original helmet, knowing that Hunter 2 would wear it in the future, and he placed it back on Hunter's grave, awaiting the time when a young warrior named Karas would find it and become the second Hunter.

Comments: This story, written during the last few years of Warren Comics' existence, was obviously intended to bring a Marvel-style resurrection to Demian Hunter, who was Warren's fourth most popular character after Vampirella, the Rook, and Pantha. It's likely this move was done to make way for a new Hunter series in the future, since Warren was trying to concentrate its efforts into creating more super-heroes as the popularity of mainstream horror comics were starting to wane (except in the underground), so it may have made sense to them to revive one of their greatest anti-heroes. It's possible that Rich Margopoulos, who wrote the first Hunter story (as well as the second and third), was even planning to write a new Hunter series, and so composed this story to lead into it. Of course, Warren would be gone in less than two years after this story was published, so no new Hunter series was ever able to materialize. Warren wasn't in the habit of reviving characters who had previously died, unlike its rivals Marvel and DC, so this move was clearly inspired by the competition. Demian Hunter wasn't seen again after this story, so his future fate remains unknown. I will let the fan boys decide if resurrecting Demian Hunter was a wise move, as was connecting him to Darklon the Mystic [with nary an explanation] or undoing his final heartfelt confrontation with his father, General Ophal.

This story established Darklon's future time period as occurring on the Hunter Timeline, further into the future than either Hunter or Hunter 2 had lived. It also established that Demian Hunter was somehow the ancestor of Darklon, though how closely they were related-and in what manner their family trees intertwined-was never established (especially since connecting the two characters genetically was probably never part of Darklon creator Jim Starlin's intention). It's probably no coincidence that Hunter's new costume resembled a garment worn by a super-hero much more than a military uniform.
Thus, after Derek Schreck, Darklon was the second character initially created with no connection to Demian Hunter for whom another Warren scribe later decided to bring into the Hunter Timeline.

One good thing about this story was that we finally really got to see Darklon's powers in action, something we didn't adequately see in his own series. He appeared to be at least as adept in the mystic arts as Dr. Strange, likely even more so, considering his ability to travel through time and space. Admittedly, the latter ability appears contrived, but was necessary for the purpose of this story. Just how powerful Darklon was has never been calculated, but it was made clear that his power was dwarfed by an elder god like the Nameless One, and the latter's successor, the Acolyte. Precisely how the Acolyte succeeded the Nameless One was never explained, because the former was created simply to fulfill the needs of a villain in this story, specifically one who could surpass Darklon's powers.

Darklon likewise never appeared in a Warren comic mag again after this story other than very briefly in the Vampirella and the Time Force story in EERIE #130, so it's unknown if Warren had any further plans for him (evidently, Jim Starlin didn't).

Al Sanchez was a decent enough artist, with a style that was more reminiscent of an artist working for Marvel, which probably wasn't a coincidence.

This story revealed the presence of Quarb, the immortal progenitor of the human race, as a presence on the Hunter Timeline. Quarb first appeared in the Rook story in EERIE #98, where his full origin was told. This story therefore features yet another Warrenverse crossover, this time with the Rook strip.

In November of 1983, several months after Warren Publishing went out of business, Darklon the Mystic's entire saga was reprinted and colorized by Pacific Comics in DARKLON THE MYSTIC #1, a one-shot. I am not certain at this time how Pacific Comics, a now defunct independent publisher, acquired the rights to reprint Darklon the Mystic's stories, as I am not sure if the Warren properties were put on auction that quickly. However, they were soon picked up by Stanley Harris, who published a single new issue of both CREEPY and VAMPIRELLA a year later, but both were all-reprint and neither sold well enough to justify continuing either series any further at that time in Harris' eyes. Evidently, Pacific Comics didn't pick up the rights to reprint or produce new stories for any of the other Warren characters, or if they did, they chose not to do anything with them. Since they never published any new exploits of Darklon the Mystic, it's possible (though unconfirmed at this point) that they made a deal to only reprint the Darklon the Mystic stories in a one-shot special. It's possible that the publishing heads of Pacific Comics may have favored this particuar character over and above any other Warren property because it was written and illustrated by Jim Starlin, who was making quite an impact in the comics world in the early 1980s with his popular independently owned space hero comic DREADSTAR.

In 1993, Marvel Comics published an eight issue mini-series called WARLOCK CHRONICLES, featuring the exploits of the enigmatic cosmic super-hero Adam Warlock, who was created in the 1960s by the legendary Jack Kirby in FANTASTIC FOUR Vol. 1 #67 as the being called Him, and then famously reworked into the incarnation he is known as today by Jim Starlin during the 1970s in MARVEL PREMIERE #1, which led to Warlock's own popular series soon afterwards (initially called THE POWER OF WARLOCK, and later having the title simplified to WARLOCK [Vol. 1] for the rest of its run after Starlin began his most classic '70s storylines for the character, the first of which he faced his evil alternate future counterpart called the Magus, and the second and final one where he faced another cosmic level menace called Star-Thief ). Though the character was killed off by Starlin later in the '70s by former ally turned deadly foe Thanos in a famous two-part story that was chronicled in AVENGERS ANNUAL #7 and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2, Warlock and two popular members of his supporting cast from the '70s who were killed along with him (Gamora and Pip the Troll) would be literally resurrected from the dead in new physical bodies to combat the similarly resurrected Thanos following his acquisition of the cosmic-powered Infinity Gauntlet during the eponymously named mini-series penned by Starlin during the early '90s. Following the conclusion of that major six issue mini-series, Warlock was given two series of his own, both written by Starlin: an ongoing series called WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH and an eight issue mini-series called WARLOCK CHRONICLES whose first several issues served as a tie-in to the second of two sequels to THE INFINITY GAUNTLET during the '90s.

Beginning in the first issue of WARLOCK CHRONICLES, a powerful otherdimensional sorcerer calling himself Darklore encountered and aided Warlock when the golden-skinned warrior was both catatonic and stranded in an extradimensional void by his foe the Goddess. Darklore greatly resembled Darklon, and it's been suggested by many readers--who have pointed out some good evidence to back these assertions up--that Darklore was either Darklon the Mystic himself or at least a close dimensional counterpart of his at a point in time following his Warren series. Of course, Darklon's Warren series was later revealed to take place at some point in the distant future, so if Darklore really was Darklon--or at least a dimensional counterpart thereof with a similar history--then he somehow later permanently ended up at a point in time a few centuries in his past, at a time close to that which we would consider the present era. This wouldn't be too offbase to consider, as it was previously shown that Darklon had sufficient power to open temporal warps to other time periods and had visited the past of his own reality before. At another point following the events of Darklon's Warren series--again assuming that Darklore was indeed Darklon or a dimensional counterpart at a later point in his life--the sorcerer acquired a tiny winged female familiar Meer'lyn (who somewhat resembled a mean version of Tinkerbell)--whom he by then needed to prevent his mystical power from going out of control and totally overwhelming him--and entered the dimensional realm of Egolix-7, where his long-lasting enmity with Count Abyss, an otherdimensional tyrant of great magickal power, began, thereby beginning a major turning point in his life. Furthermore, Darklore appeared to be more heroic and less of the ruthless and largely uncaring "gray" character that Darklon was, though it's possible that this was simply a natural change in his persona over time as he began to seek inner peace. In fact, he did intend to retire to a peaceful life on Egolix-7 following his defeat of Count Abyss.

Another connection noted between Darklon and Darklore was when the latter told Warlock that he had visited the Earth dimension at some unspecified time in the past, though it's not certain if he was referring to the Earth of the WNU, from which Darklon's native reality existed on an alternate future time track, or the Earth of the MU where Adam Warlock was native to. Though travel from the WNU to the MU is both rare and quite difficult, it has happened a few times in the past, such as when the X-Men of the MU and the crews of both the starship Enterprise commanded by Captain James T. Kirk circa the late 23rd century and Captain Jean-Luc Picard circa the late 24th century from the Classic Star Trek Universe--which exist on an alternate future time track of the WNU that is distinct from the Hunter Timeline where Darklon hails from--crossed over with each other in three adventures that were both cross-dimensional and cross-temporal (as seen in the story "Star Trex" from the X-MEN/STAR TREK one-shot, the story "Second Contact" from the X-MEN/STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION one-shot, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men novel PLANET X). Considering the level of power at Darklon's disposal, it's quite possible he could accomplish similar simultanteous cross-dimensional and cross-temporal feats, particularly if he traversed otherdimensional realms--such as Egolix-7--that could serve as transdimensional 'wormholes' that connect different universes that are ordinarily far off the beaten track from each other.

It was also unclear as to whether or not Darklore's power level was the same as that which he possessed during his days as Darklon, as Count Abyss was seen to be able to easily defeat Darklore in combat, even with Meer'lyn and Warlock and his formidable Infinity Watch team fighting at his side. If Darklore's power was still at the same level as it was during his days as Darklon in his Warren series, then this would possibly place Count Abyss' power level on par with that of the Nameless One, which was quite extraordinary indeed when you consider how powerful Darklon appeared to be in his Warren series. Nevertheless, Count Abyss was eventually defeated by Darklore and Warlock, and the former subsequently married a female native of Egolix-7 named Maya, becoming king of that dimension in the process, and finally apparently finding the peace he had long craved.

There were two other hints that may connect Darklon to Darklore, one in the Marvel chronicles and one in the Warren chronicles. Regarding the former, Darklore's origin account was given in MYSTIC ARCANA: THE BOOK OF MARVEL MAGIC, and that origin was quite similar to that of Darklon. As for the other connection, in the Darklon the Mystic story in EERIE #100 Dr. Bell and Dr. Hoffsteader mentioned that the situation involving the comatose father and son-- whose psychic connection appeared to directly mirror the battle to the death that Darklon and his father Kavar Darkhold were engaging in via the psychic plane on the planet Nebularia a few centuries in the future--would prove to be even more interesting than the Barry Bauman case. Barry Bauman was the identity of the villain Star-Thief, who, as noted above, was one of the adversaries that Adam Warlock battled in the MU. This implies that the Earth in the past that Darklon journeyed to was either the Earth of the MU (Earth-616) or that a counterpart of Star-Thief existed in the late 20th century of the WNU, and this alternate reality version of the MU villain may have encountered Darklon during one of his cross-time journeys to the past.

All of the above makes sense since Starlin enjoyed crossing over the various cosmic characters he wrote, so it stands to reason that he would want to include Darklon in his latest storyline. Since he couldn't openly use Darklon in the cosmic Marvel stories he wrote for obvious legal reasons, he would have to do so in an 'under-handed' manner that has been utilized by writers many times before and since. Thus, in order to get Darklon into the continuing multi-series cosmic drama featuring Warlock, Thanos, and the Infinity Gems that Starlin was writing for Marvel in the early '90s following the great success of the storyline in SILVER SURFER Vol. 3 where Thanos was revived from the dead and the mega-popular mini-series THE INFINITY GAUNTLET that resulted from it (which in turn spawned two forgettable sequel mini-series, THE INFINITY WAR and THE INFINITY CRUSADE, along with the excellent ongoing series WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH and later the great mini-series WARLOCK CHRONICLES), he had to "sneak" Darklon in the storyline by slightly changing his name and personality, along with adding his familiar Meer'lyn (all of these changes may have been due to various unknown experiences that he encountered during the long stretch of time between Darklon's last appearance in Warren Comics and his appearance in Marvel's WARLOCK CHRONICLES #1). Despite these changes, Starlin appeares to have made Darklore similar enough to the Warren sorcerer that he could be considered a future version of the character from Starlin's 1970s series for Warren's EERIE. In complimentary fashion, Darklore's entry for MYSTIC ARCANA: THE BOOK OF MARVEL MAGIC was written in a manner that continued Starlin's intention by giving the sorcerer an origin paralleling that of Darklon's origin account (at this writing, I am not certain who wrote Darklore's entry for that tome).

Since New Comic Company presumably owns the rights to Darklon the Mystic at this time, and have now granted the license to Dark Horse Comics to use any of the old Warren properties other than Vampirella and her supporting cast (who are now controlled by Dynamite Publishing), it remains to be seen how Darklon would be interpreted if Dark Horse ever chose to revive the character. If Starlin himself wasn't invited to write the series, then it's very possible that the events depicted in Marvel Comics featuring Darklore will be ignored and even outright contradicted for reasons of legal necessity, and if this turns out to be the case, then it can be presumed that Darklore was an alternate reality counterpart of Darklon and not the same version we saw in the Warren stories. On the other hand, if Starlin were to write a Darklon the Mystic revival series for Dark Horse in the future, it's possible he will find a clever way to retain the Darklore continuity without directly referencing any of the Marvel characters and only indirectly referencing the events experienced by the character in the Marvel chronicles.

Time Frame: It's my conjecture that Darklon's appearances in his own time period took place perhaps a year following the end of his series, at some point in the late 24th century on the Hunter Timeline, giving the Acolyte enough time to succeed the Nameless One. Upon going back in time, Darklon appeared in the year 2108 on the Hunter Timeline, less than an hour after Demian Hunter was buried in the last story of his series in EERIE #57.

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