hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-mainHAND of DARKNESShand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-facemask

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/ClassAlternate Reality (Reality-8116) extraterrestrial (race unidentified) technology-user

Occupation: Assassin

Group Membership: Instrumentality empire and religion

Affiliations: Lord High Papal, the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality

Enemies: Vanth Dreadstar, Syzygy Darklock, King Gregzor, the Monarchy, Oedi, Willow; unidentified Monarchy palace guard; unidentified Monarchy palace servant
    peripherally Skeevo Phlatus, Rainbow, Z

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Agent Darkness;
    posed as Alicia, a Monarchy guard, and a Monarchy servant/waiter (presumably many others)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    died outside the royal palace on Jewelworld, Empirical galaxy;
    previously mobile throughout Instrumentality and/or Monarchy-controlled worlds in the Empirical galaxy

First Appearance: Dreadstar I#4 (May, 1983)

Powers/Abilities: The Hand of Darkness used a computerized holographic projector and voice modulator to replicate the appearance and voice of those he encountered. His cover was desinged to pass the most intense scientific or mystical scrutiny; however, his scent was not disguised, and he could be detected by those with enhanced olfactory senses.

    He was seen to adopt the form of human adult males and females of average/lean build. He could presumably replicate the appearance of non-human beings and those of larger or smaller size, but he was not seen to do so.

    He was a devout believer in the Instrumentality, and he was willing to sacrifice his own life for his church and his mission.

    He heavily researched his subjects and was prepared for their abilities and limitations.hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-combat

    His preferred weapon was a dagger, but he also carried a laser pistol, and he was highly skilled in unarmed combat. He could hold his own against the presumably enhanced strength and speed of the cat-man Oedi.

    It is unrevealed whether his costume contained any padding or body armor, but the fall from the top of a tall building was apparently fatal to him.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6'2"; he looked fairly comparable to Oedi, who was reportedly 6'5" per the Dreadstar Guidebook, although that seems a little excessive to me); he did not actually change his height, but he could appear shorter or taller via holography)
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 180 lbs.; his armor's costume's weight is unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed (although they could appear any color)
Hair: Unrevealed
(although he could adopt any hair color)

History:

(Dreadstar I#4 (fb) - BTS) - The man known only as Agent Darkness or the Hand of Darkness served as an assassin for the Instrumentality, specifically working as an agent of the Lord Papal. 

    The Papal apparently prepared his Hand of Darkness to be prepared for a mission to assassinate King Gregzor of the Instrumentality's rivals, the Monarchy.

(Dreadstar I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Darkness read the intelligence reports on Dreadstar and his associates (at least including Willow).

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - Seeking to prevent the Instrumentality from eliminating their rival Monarchy and gaining control over the Empirical galaxy, the rebel Vanth Dreadstar and his associates (Syzygy Darklock, King Gregzor, Oedi, Skeevo Phlatus, Willow) offered 20 interstellar teleportation drives (stolen from the Instrumentality) to the the Monarchy's King Gregzor at his empire's throneworld, Jewelworld.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - Meanwhile, the Lord Papal plotted to throw the Monarchy into disarray long enough to delay their utilization of the teleportation drives for 5 hours, which was how long it would take for the Instrumentality to assemble their own armada of destroyers as part of "Plan Hammer," where they would teleport the armada to annihilate Jewelworld.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - The Papal, the Hand of Darkness, and the Instrumentality in general believed Dreadstar and Syzygy to have perished during a nuclear bombing of the city Chichano ordered by the Lord Papal.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - The Papal had a call put into Agent Darkness and then greeted his "Hand of Darkness," who greeted his holiness in return. The Papal informed him that the time had arrived for the task for which he lived: His target was King Gregzor, and that he must be terminated with extreme haste. Darkness acknowledged this mission, and the Papal blessed him.

(Dreadstar I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Gregzor's vizier, the mysterious Z learned (due to it having been delivered over an uncoded transmission) of the plotted assassination of Gregzor.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - After Dreadstar and his crew (Syzygy Darklock, Oedi, Skeevo Phlatus, Rainbow, Willow) landed in Jewelcity's royal spaceport, Z detailed the Instrumentality's planned assault and assaasination -- noting how with Gregzo lacking a designated heir that the resultant bedlam would delay succession until Jewelworld was a smoking ruin -- and requested Dreadstar's crew to protect Gregzor.

    Z agreed to Dreadstar's demand of a battle cruiser as payment and then instructed Dreadstar and company to prepare to do this work during a reception in the palace (for a few hundred industrial leaders of the realm, which apparently could not be cancelled) in one hour. 


hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-woman



hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-woman-face
(
Dreadstar I#4) - Posing as Alicia, the lover of a Monarchy guard, Darkness confronted the guard and insisted she had to see him; "her" appearance and voice disarmed him, allowing the assassin to get close enough to stab him with a dagger, apparently fatally. The assassin then told his victim that he had died because he had relied on his eyes and ears, and that only the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality could be trusted. As he dragged his victim behind a tree, the assassin told him that when his labors were over, he would pray for his soul. 
.

Monarchy guard-fullMonarchy-guard-face

     As he took the guard's form, the assassin noted that he was a pious man devoted to the work of the gods and that duty allowed nothing to stand in his way. 

(Dreadstar I#4 (fb) - BTS) - As Dreadstar's request, Z had all but one entrance to the hall closed to allow Willow to check out each guest as they arrived.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - Dreadstar explained to Z that Syzygy and Z would stay by the throne, while he, Oedi, and Skeevo would wander the crowd; they both acknowledged that as the message regarding the assassin was uncoded, this was a suicide mission.

(Dreadstar I#4) - As he approached Willow, Darkness recognized her -- due to the presence of her monk, Rainbow -- as the blind telepath associated with Dreadstar, and he turned away before she came within her telepathic range. Willow observed his turning back, but she assumed him to be a palace guard on his rounds.



hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-waiter-facehand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-waiter-full

    Darkness realized that the only way he could get into the hall was by taking the form of someone that had already passed by Willow several times. He thus ambushed and slew a palace servant/server and adopted his form, after which he went he requested a goblet of the King's usual drink, into which he then poured some poison. 

    Entering at the same time as a group of late arrivals and in the form of a familar servant, Darkness slipped in with the others' thoughts allowing him to slip past Willow undetected. Darkness then past by Dreadstar, fearing that his power would see through his disguise, but he was pleased that Dreadstar failed to detect him, and he considered the rebel leader as overrated. With Z and the mystic Syzygy standing beside King Gregzor, Darkness was confident in his mystical and scientific defenses, and he walked up and delivered the goblet to Gregzor, who thanked him. As he walked away and asked the Gods to take mercy on Gregzor's soul, Oedi -- whose enhanced olfactory senses had detected both the different scent of the waiter whom he had previously passed and the smell of poison in the drink -- told Gregzor not to drink the poisoned drink.

    Realizing Dreadstar's crew was on to him, Darkness fled, catching Willow unaware at the entrance and smashing her in the back of the head with a serving tray as he fled.

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - Stunned, Willow urged her teammates Dreadstar, Oedi, and Syzygy to take down the would-be assassin.


(Dreadstar I#4 (fb) - BTS) - The Hand of Darkness retook the form of the palace guard he had slain. 

(Dreadstar I#4) -As Dreadstar and his associates rushed out of the hall, Darkness -- standing in the stairwell -- advised them that the would-be assassin had jumped out of the window. hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-punch-fall

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - While Dreadstar and Syzygy went out the window in pursuit, Oedi appreciated that the assassin's scent went up the stairs and not out the window. He instead followed the palace guard up the stairs.

(Dreadstar I#4) - Realizing he was being followed, Darkness fired on Oedi, who dodged and told him to give it up, as he was finished. At Darkness' query, Oedi revealed how his olfactory senses had allowed him to see through his deceptions. 

    On an outside landing, Oedi fired a blast that destroyed the assassin's gun, after which he advised that they go downstairs to security, but Darkness refused, noting that he did the Church's work and that nothing could stop him. Although he knocked Oedi's blaster out of his hand and landed at least one solid punch, Oedi dodged his other strikes and delivered a punch that caused Darkness to fall back over the ledge, hitting the castle wall at least once on the way down. Dreadstar and Syzygy found the would-be assassin on the ground and considered him dead.hand_of-darkness-8116-instrumentality-death

(Dreadstar I#4 - BTS) - Oedi informed Z and Gregzor of the assassin's fate. Oedi then explained to Gregzor that while he could never forgive the Monarchy (and specifically Gregzor's father, King Nellor) for exterminating his people, he was just doing his job.

Comments: Created by Jim Starlin

    The Hand of Darkness replicated the forms of others he had seen (presumably his uniform/costume contained circuitry to scan and then replicate the appearance of that person). There's no evidence that he was a mind-reader, so he presumably researched the palace guard and either replicated the form of Alicia after seeing images of her, or perhaps he saw her directly. He may well have visited her and killed her before encounter her lover, the unidentified guard.

    This profile was completed 9/4/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Agent Darkness/Hand of Darkness
should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Dreadstar I#4, pg. 13, panel 3 (posing as Alicia, face);
            panel 7-10 (posing as Alicia, reverting to costumed form/true appearance, with the latter also serving as the main);
        pg. 14, panel 2 (face mask);
            panel 3 (as palace guard; full);
        pg. 21, panel 4 (as palace guard; face);
            panel 10 (as palace waiter; face);
        pg. 22, panel 11 (as palace waiter; full);
        pg. 26, panel 5-6 (throwing knife at and punching Oedi);
            panel 6-8 (punched by Oedi and falling over ledge);
        pg. 27, panel 5 (dead on ground)


Appearances:
Dreadstar I#4 (May, 1983) - Jim Starlin (writer/artist), Archie Goodwin (editor), Jo Duffy (associate editor), Jim Shooter & Al Milgrom (consulting editors)


First posted09/14/2021
Last updated: 09/11/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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