- The Darkness (comics)
The Darkness. Art by Marc Silvestri
Publication information Publisher Image Comics First appearance Witchblade #10 (1996) Created by David Wohl
In-story information Alter ego Jackie Estacado Team affiliations None (Formerly Mafia) Abilities The Darkness, Immortality, Invulnerability, Flight, Strength, Speed, Agility, Endurance, Healing Factor, Sensing of Death, Skilled Fighter & Marksman
The Darkness is a series of ongoing American comic books created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl and produced by Top Cow Productions. The comic first appeared in 1996 and enjoyed an initial period of relative success during the Top Cow/Image Comics boom of the late 1990s. However, Top Cow was forced to "re-launch" the comic in 2002 after sales began to drop. The Darkness has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Notable writers, including Paul Jenkins, have also worked on The Darkness.
- 1 The Darkness
- 2 Enemies & Allies
- 3 Powers & Abilities
- 4 Other Wielders of The Darkness
- 5 Other Appearances of The Darkness
- 6 Collections
- 7 Other media
- 8 References
- 9 Footnotes
The Darkness is an ancient elemental force that allows those who wield it access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the Darklings who dwell there. When the host of The Darkness conceives offspring, The Darkness bounds into the newly formed vessel and leaves his old host to die. The living vessel of The Darkness then assumes his eternal, infernal birthright on the eve of his twenty-first birthday when he is at once blessed and cursed by the power of The Darkness.
Jackie Estacado is the current wielder of The Darkness and former hitman for the Franchetti Family mob. Though he lives life on the wrong side of the law and can kill without remorse, Estacado has a strict set of morals and a fierce loyalty to those that earn it.Yet the only thing keeping him from being purely evil is his true love Jenny.As seen in the video game after he kills his "Uncle" Paulie the darkness takes full control for a moment.But soon after he has a vision of Jenny. She tells him he has to wake up and so he does.
Jackie was never easily intimidated, even as the smallest (and subsequently scrappiest) orphan at Saint Gerard's. He joined the Mafia at the very early age of 6, after being adopted by mafia don Frankie "Kill-the-children-too" Franchetti. He was picked up at Saint Garald's orphanage after Frankie was prompted by Sonatine, who told Frankie that Jackie would make him mighty. Jackie came to the mafia life easily, witnessing his first point blank bullet to the base of the skull assassination of a close "family friend" at age 10, losing his virginity to a female officer during interrogation at age 14, and making his first hit at 16. He grew up, or more accurately matured, very quickly, and soon enjoyed the life of sex and violence. His actions within the mob caused Franchetti to become the most powerful don in the city, fulfilling Sonatine's prophecy. However, when he turned 21, he was both blessed and cursed by the power of The Darkness and he learned of his eternal, infernal birthright. His powers served him well in the role of mob enforcer, dealing death with careless grace.
Early on, Jackie spent much of his time escaping from or fighting the Angelus (who wants to kill him), and Sonatine and his Brotherhood of The Darkness (who wish to capture him and either control him or steal his powers). Eventually, Jackie realized that he could use his powers for more noble ends and chose to quit the mob, but found it easier said than done. Jackie had turned on his adoptive uncle, Don Frankie Franchetti, to get a clean slate and exit from his life of crime after a meeting with Batman. (Batman/Darkness crossover) However, after Frankie kidnapped Jenny, a childhood friend of Jackie's, Frankie killed her and sent a videotape to Jackie in revenge. Jackie could not take this and called out Franchetti's mob, leading them to an abandoned warehouse covered in gasoline. When the crew arrived to kill Estacado, Jackie and the darklings threw down their lighters and blew the place, and all its occupants, to bits, killing Frankie and burning Jackie alive. Over the course of this series, Jackie makes uneasy and often flirtatious alliances with Sara Pezzini, the current user of The Witchblade.
Jackie spent two days (or what seemed to him like 'a million years') afterward wandering around Hell, searching for Jenny, until Tom Judge came and gave him hope, a gift that allows men to exit Hell. Jackie's body was then reconstructed by The Darkness.
Jackie returned to find the Franchetti mob taken over by Frankie's amateur cousin, Paulie. Paulie was able to discover Jackie's secret as well as a long-lost sister of Jenny's. Using this information, Paulie blackmailed Jackie into doing hits for him. Along the way, Jackie learned how to construct a gun out of The Darkness. Later, Jackie discovered the identity of the hitman following Jenny's sister, killed him, and took his revenge on Paulie as well. This led to Jackie taking control of the Franchetti family. With control of the Franchetti family, Jackie vastly expanded his mafia, taken on the Triads, and fought the Russian Mafia in Atlantic City.
Being the Don of the Italian Mafia in New York did not last long however. In search for revenge the new Angelus once again confronts Jackie and with the help of Patience the Magdalena and Witchblade wielder Danielle Baptiste, Estacado manages to crush her, losing everything he had gained. He flees to Sierra Muñoz in hope of establishing a new empire there.
Jackie Estacado is also the biological father of Hope Pezzini, Sara Pezzini's mystical child. He himself could not explain it properly apart from saying that it had to do with 'Darkness wanting to tip the balance'. The Darkness entity itself confirms this to Patience (Witchblade #110) by saying that it used Jackie as raw material to settle the matter with Angelus once and for all. Recently, (Darkness Vol. 3 # 1-2) Jackie has established a drug cartel in Sierra Muñoz with a narcotic made from his own bodily fluids thanks to the help of a demented, but brilliant scientist named Professor Kirchner. With the Darkness, Jackie is able to take control of the small tropical republic, build himself an impenetrable fortress, an army and eventually, even a lover he calls 'Elle'.
Most of these come at a price since the residents of Sierra Muñoz do not take very kindly to him. To express their distaste, they perform various acts of guerrilla warfare and suicide bombing in their struggle for liberation. They manage to find themselves a sponsor in their struggle- The United States military, who wish to capture Jackie for both experimentation and to learn about his "armor". Jackie went to fight the army head on and, using The Darkness, he was able to take out the entire fleet. Returning to his fortress, he is betrayed by Kirchner and loses control of all of his power, with his darklings turning on him. Jackie is left for dead after being shot in the neck and falling down a waterfall. Upon his capture he makes a deal with the local rebels agreeing to rid the island of the drug he created. In doing so he crosses paths with Elle and she reveals to Jackie that she is pregnant with his baby: a spawn of The Darkness itself.
The Darkness however killed Elle upon birth, grew to full maturity and killed Professor Kirchner. A fight between Jackie and The Darkness ended when Jackie left the creature in the upper atmosphere just as dawn was breaking. The Darkness was then destroyed by the rays of the morning sun.
After crashing to Earth following this battle, Jackie was weakened and battered. He flees Sierra Munoz and heads back to the States. But the road home is no easy journey as he runs afoul of Mexican witches and wannabe gangsters. During one such fight, he was knocked out and soon discovers his battle with The Darkness cast his soul into Hell while leaving his body and mind on Earth after he meets and makes a deal with a devil who calls himself The Sovereign, an arch-demon who promises, in return for a number of assassinations, to reunite Jackie's body and soul.
The assassinations Jackie was sent on were meant to return to Hell evil souls, who had previously made a deal with The Sovereign to take over human bodies. After one such mission in Africa, Jackie was enticed by a beautiful woman with a red scarf, who motioned for him to follow. As he was about to follow her into a house, he was stopped by The Foreigner, a mysterious African man who once wielded The Darkness, but had completely discarded the power over ten thousand years ago without it killing him. He warned Jackie of the trap laid hundreds of years earlier by an angry sorcerer who created a powerful Djinn to kill The Darkness, who defiled his wife. The Foreigner was able to kill the Djinn over two thousand years ago, but his curse is so potent that even his decayed remains can rise to strike at The Darkness.
Inside the building were the woman waited, the Djinn responded to Jackie's presence, resurrected, and attacked Jackie. Eventually, Jackie understood that both the woman and the Djinn were cursed themselves, to live only to lure and kill The Darkness. By strangling the woman, both were released. Outside, Jackie was once more confronted by The Foreigner, who explained that Jackie can call The Darkness and his soul back at any time, so long as he desires it. Through a series of insults and physical attacks, Jackie once more drew on the full power of The Darkness and fought the old Darkness wielder, claiming to be sick of people who tried to mess with his head. Together with the always talkative Darklings, he stated his desire to return home.
Attacking the building where The Sovereign held his base, Jackie found himself caught in a room flooded with artificial sunlight and a score of bodies controlled by The Sovereign. With the help of the Darklings biting the power lines outside, Jackie destroyed all the bodies, leaving only one man alive, Leonard Kim. Jackie, impressed by Kim's ability to stay calm where all the other mercenaries had panicked, offered him a job.
Jackie quickly brought together a group of people with distinct skills for a single purpose: to destroy each and every statue that might be used by The Sovereign, effectively removing his presence from Earth. During this time, Jackie was called by Sara who suspected him of robbing a number of New York banks. During a meeting in broad daylight Sara warned Jackie to stay away from the city, not wanting to tell her daughter Hope that 'mommy had killed daddy.' Jackie agreed and instructed his new employees that under no circumstance were they to enter the city of New York.
Jackie and his team then go on a world tour finding and destroying stone bodies that The Sovereign could use as hosts. One of these trips takes him to Fort Knox where a host statue is held. During the raid Jackie discovers that The Sovereign has already taken over the statue as it is radiating light. Jackie is forced to take the Sovereign-possessed statue with them he orders his team to detonate the explosives they had set earlier. Unfortunately for Jackie, he falls from the van and is left helpless as tanks and marines surround him on orders by Major White, who survived the explosion back in Sierra Munoz.
Jackie holds his own against the marines but is shot down and captured. Linked to an electronic shock disc, Major White Informs Jackie that members of Hunter Killer are coming to take him and study his powers. Meanwhile, The Sovereign tries to bargain with Jackie's team, however out of loyalty to Jackie, they refuse and The Sovereign attacks them. The team manage to destroy The Sovereign by hitting the brakes on the van, tossing The Sovereign into the windshield and detonating the C4 explosives on his back. White informs Jackie that Jackie's power must not be used by anybody but him (Jackie). White shuts down the power in the base and willingly lets Jackie break his jaw and escape. Jackie makes his way to a parking lot building where the squad of Hunter Killers are after him. After a visit from the old Darkness host, Jackie manages to evade the squad by making copies of himself and fooling the team into thinking they had caught him, while Jackie hides and escapes by using The Darkness to shapeshift into an old lady.
While on a plane to retrieve another Sovereign statue from retired Russian mob boss Vasily Martynov, Jackie begins having strange dreams of himself as a teenager wearing a costume-like Darkness armor and chasing Capris through an orphanage. He then wakes up and dismisses the thought from his mind. During the meeting with Martynov, Jackie meets his mysterious deaf assistant, Arvo. Jackie then begins hearing the most beautiful voice he's ever heard which begins to pull him into Martynov's complex after he sees Capris. He reaches her and finds her surrounded by illusions of The Sovereighn and Sonatine created by the song. He battles the creatures and eventually submits after receiving a vision from an old knight. He wakes up restrained to a machine surrounding an angelic woman known as The Alkonost. The machine syphons The Darkness from him and into Arvo, who intends to use it to rule as a god. Meanwhile, Jackie's team are betrayed and sold out to Martynov by one of their own, Dev Ravada. Back within the machine, the old knight reveals himself to be the last member of The Order of The Holy Voice, an order devoted to the protection of The Alkonost, he also informs Jackie that "Capris" was in fact an illusion created by The Alkonost's singing. Arvo was intended to be the old knight's apprentice, however Arvo wanted The Alkonost for himself and so he battled the old knight and has kept him strapped to the machine for centuries. While Arvo raped the helpless Alkonost, Jackie loses consciousness and only by killing "Capris" does he summon the strength to free both himself and the old knight from the machine. He is attacked by Arvo while the old knight attends The Alkonost and pulls the lance from her chest and impales Arvo, giving Jackie the chance to use The Darkness to heal Arvo's ears, making him vulnerable to The Alkonost's song. As the old knight lay dying in the weeping Alkonost's wings, Jackie offers to heal his wound, however the old knight declines as dying in The Alkonost's presence is his greatest honor. Jackie then lays the old knight to rest as The Alkonost flew into the sky and escaped. Martynov is devastated by the release of The Alkonost, just in time for Kim to kill him and for Jackie to kill Arvo.
Enemies & Allies
The powers of The Angelus are similar to the powers of The Darkness as both have the ability to create sentient beings, both commands a host of minions to do their bidding, she has the power of flight, can conjure weapons at will, breath fire, and fire bolts of light and teleport herself and other beings (as she did to the bearer of the Ember Stone).
Like The Darkness The Angelus' power does have its limits too. While The Darkness cannot function at all in the light the Angelus can function in the dark but only for short periods of time as it completely drains her power while the power of The Darkness becomes superior.
The first modern host was the catatonic wife of Uncle Frankie, Lauren Franchetti. After she is killed the power initially possesses Velocity of Cyberforce but it is immediately driven from her body by Cyberforce. She then finds a new host in Celestine Wright until she herself is killed during the events of Broken Trinity. The current Angelus is the former Witchblade host Danielle Baptiste.
The daughter of Don Frankie, and the vengeful child of the catatonic Lauren Franchetti, who watched as her father murdered her mother's lover, which caused her mother to go into a coma. Responsible for the Angelus' return, and unsuccessfully trying to overthrow the Franchetti family, Appolonia is left in a coma. But she is brought out of this state with a fragment from the Spear of Destiny, the Magdalena's weapon, and branches out into her own side of The Darkness herself. After being banished by The Angelus she mysteriously reappears on the anniversary of her parents' marriage. She is generally happy to see Jackie and is terrified of her mother (as she feels there is nothing remaining of her). Appolonia appears to be in league with The Angelus, setting up Jackie, but in reality betrays The Angelus when she is about to kill Magdalena & Jackie. Appolonia kills her mother with the Spear of Destiny, ending her mother's suffering. Lauren dies with tears of joy and is happy to see both Jackie and her daughter. Appolonia's current whereabouts are unknown.
Each generation one random woman is chosen to wield The Witchblade, a mystical, symbiotic artifact of enormous power. This generation's wielder is Sara Pezzini, a New York City detective. Sara teamed up with Jackie first in the Family Ties crossover, and again later to fight the Necrobi. Sara has also hassled Wade Wilson about his Midnight activities during the second run of the comic.
The Magdalena are descended from Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, the first Magdalena introduced was Sister Mariella, the daughter of Sister Rosalia. Mariella was prematurely sent to battle Jackie, and since she was brought up in a crooked sect of the church, was a wild Christian fanatic who did not know right from wrong. She was left for dead, but recovered, only to battle with The Angelus and again be left for dead. Mariella has not been seen since.
Afterwards, Patience, the current Magdalena, is sent out to attack The Darkness, and Jackie mistakes her for Mariella, as does The Angelus. After explaining the situation to him, they end up teaming up against The Angelus, and Patience is possessed by her spirit. Jackie saves her, and the Angelus flees. Patience aided Jackie in defending Sara while she was in labor with their child. The baby is the offspring of Jackie and Sara, and the Darkness created her to rebalance the scales, thus The Angelus saw her as a threat.
Jackie has a twin sister named Capris Castiglione. The two were separated when they were just babies. Worried about Darkness's power and influence on her other child, their mother entrusted Capris to Father Brendan. He raised her in an orphanage as if she was his own daughter. Capris' destiny got twisted when she found her best friend Blair murdered. She discovered that Blair was used in illegal porno movies. When Father Brendan was dying, he revealed Capris's past and twin brother to her. She met a Native American by the name of Robert Bearclaw (Ripclaw of Cyberforce) who taught her how to use the limited Darkness powers that she inherited from her father.
Five years later, full of hatred, Capris sought out the men responsible for her friend's death. She pretended to be stripper named Tiffany and waited for a right moment to kill them. Ripclaw followed her on the revenge trip and offered to resume training her in the use of the Darkness. When she met her brother, Jackie Estacado, for the first time, she told him where the Angelus was holding Frankie, and then disappeared. When Jackie needed to fight Cherubs, and Ripclaw took him to the spirit world, Capris looked after their earthly bodies and kept Jenny company.
Powers & Abilities
Jackie wields The Darkness, an elemental force of nearly limitless, seemingly unholy demonic power that allows those who wield it access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the veritable legion of Darklings who dwell there. While in the dark, Jackie can create Darklings and incredibly strong fanged/clawed tentacles to eviscerate his opponents and lift large objects such as vehicles.
Jackie most commonly uses The Darkness to craft a suit of mystical body armor about himself. While wearing the armor, he is invulnerable (able to harmlessly withstand high-caliber bullets, point-blank rockets from tanks, and high explosives). The Darkness armor also gives him superhuman strength, endurance, agility, and speed, to the point were he was able to smash the turret of a military tank and cover over six miles on foot, running faster than any transport could carry him. Jackie can also use his armor to grow a pair of giant bat-like or feathered wings, allowing him to fly out of Earth's atomosphere at high velocities.
Jackie has developed amazing powers of healing and endurance. He has been seen to quickly and fully recover from lethal gunshot wounds (including ones to his head and heart), skin and hair scorched off, torso impalement, and the explosion of a C4 vest straped to his chest. Jackie can also transfer this power to others, such as when he recontructed Arvo's eardrums to cure his self-inflicted deafness.
The Darkness's power is however limited: it does not function at all in strong light, which turns anything it created into dust. Jackie would appear to have some limited prescience, and has, on a few occasions, seen how, where, and when individuals will die.
More recently, Jackie has been shown to have the power to generate permanent, non-Darkness physical objects (such as water, and the drug known as Nightfall) as well as technically creating "life" in the form of his lover, Elle. He was able to create these things through practice, and the guidance of Professor Kirchner. During this time, Jackie became a drug lord, his powers evolve to form the goblin like Darklings into larger, hulking, more powerful and more malevolent forms. The labyrinth in which he lived in was also constructed from The Darkness, and changes and reforms to Jackie's will, allowing him to technically shift through space and time and get to the places he wants to go faster.
On top of his seemingly unholy demonic abilities, Jackie's spiritual, mental, and physical abilities are at peak-human performance. His fighting skills are on par with that of Batman, as well as a master marksman (with a preference for dual 9mm handguns), all of which are the result of his hitman background and training.
Other Wielders of The Darkness
The Darkness has existed since The Creation, and thus has been used by many great men over the span of ten thousand years (being passed from father to son and blood to blood). The Darkness was at one point siphoned from Jackie by Ian Nottingham. The other known hosts other than Jackie are The Foreigner, the pirate Captain Miguel Estacado, the western outlaw Ramon Estacado, the New English hermit Teo, Jackie's grandfather Robert Estacado, and Jackie's father Dany Estacado. Capris Castiglione, twin sister to Jackie, is the first woman to ever wield even a fraction of The Darkness power.
- Bearer: Miguel Estacado
- The Darkness: Black Sails
- Bearer: Teo
- The Darkness: Shadows and Flame
Other Appearances of The Darkness
The series has been collected into a series of trade paperbacks:
- Volume 1 (1996–2001):
- Coming of Age (176 pages, collects Preview and The Darkness #1-6, 1998, ISBN 1582400326)
- Ultimate Collection (352 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 1 issues #1-6 and #40, Volume 2 issues #1-6, 2007, ISBN 1582407800)
- Heart of Darkness (144 pages, collects The Darkness #7-8, 11-14, 2001, ISBN 1582402051)
- Spear of Destiny (106 pages, collects The Darkness #15-18, 2000, ISBN 1582401470)
- Original Sin (166 pages, collects The Darkness #15-25, 2005, ISBN 1582404593)
- Flesh and Blood (464 pages, collects The Darkness #26-39, October 2005, ISBN 1582405387)
- Compendium (1280 pages, collects The Darkness#1-40, Tales of the Darkness #1-4 and Darkness: Wanted Dead, December 2006, ISBN 158240643X, November 2007, ISBN 1582408017)
- Origins Volume 1 (176 pages, collects issues #1/2-06, ISBN 978-1-60706-097-0)
- Origins Volume 2 (176 pages, collects issues #07-10, Witchblade issues #18 & 19, ISBN 978-1-60706-103-8)
- Volume 2 (2002–2005):
- The Darkness Vs. Eva - Daughter of Dracula (104 pages, collects The Darkness Vs. Eva issues #1-4, 2008, ISBN 193330585)
- Top Cow/Marvel: The Crossover Collection Vol. 1 (304 pages, collects Devil's Reign 01-08, Wolverine/ Witchblade, The Hulk/ The Darkness, ISBN 978-1582405339)
- DC/Top Cow Crossovers (200 pages, collects The Darkness/ Batman, The Darkness Superman, JLA/ Cyberforce & JLA/ Witchblade, ISBN 978-1401213381)
- Unholy Union (Marvel Comics crossover: featuring The Hulk, The Darkness, Ghost Rider, Witchblade, & Dr. Strange) First Born Prelude
- First Born (160 pages, First Born 00-03, ISBN 978-1582408545)
- Broken Trinity (208 pages, Broken Trinity #01-03, The Darkness one-shot, Angelus one-shot, Witchblade one-shot,ISBN 978-1607060512)
- Volume 3 (2008-):
- Accursed: Volume 1 (160 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #1-6, September 2008, ISBN 1582409587)
- Accursed: Volume 2 (140 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #7-11, October 2009, ISBN 1607060442)
- Accursed: Volume 3 (160 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #12-15, (#76-#79 with legacy numbering) and Tales of The Darkness:Lodbrok's Hand one-shot, June 2010, ISBN 1607061007)
- Accursed: Volume 4 (172 pages, collects The Darkness Volume 3 #16-20, (#80-#84 with legacy numbering) and The Darkness: Shadows and Flame one-shot, December 2010, ISBN 978-1-607
In December 2004, Dimension Films paid an undisclosed six-figure sum to develop a possible movie based on the comic, planned for release in 2008 but has not been released yet. The comic was pitched as a similar movie to The Crow, which was also produced by Dimension.
During the 2011 comic-con screening of The Darkness II video game, both Top Cow president Matt Hawkins and CEO Marc Silvestri revealed that a live-action film of The Darkness is in development. Details on the project were light, with Hawkins only saying that Scott Stuber Productions (The Kingdom, The Break-Up) will be the producer for the project. 
In March 2005, "The Darkness" was licensed by Majesco for a console game to be developed by Starbreeze Studios. 2K Games later obtained the rights to the game, and the first-person shooter was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console systems on June 25, 2007 in the United States and on June 29, 2007 in the EU (Xbox 360 only - PS3 version was released on July 20) .
To promote the video game a five-issue mini-series was released, with each issue chronicling a chapter of the game. In June 2007 it was collected into a trade paperback (ISBN 1582407975). The game is mostly based on the events of the first volume of the Darkness comics, however it does alter some key elements such as having Paulie being the one that adopts Jackie.
During the game, The Darkness holds true to the comics, with the same powers. Though the Darkness becomes extremely resilient, and tries to make Jackie kill people, it is relatively docile toward the beginning of the game. By the time The Darkness realizes Jackie taking control, it then starts to try to persuade him to stop.
Marc Silvestri noted in an interview that a sequel to the first game is in the works.
- The Darkness (1996-2001) at the Grand Comics Database
- The Darkness (1996-2001) at the Comic Book DB
- The Darkness (2002-2005) at the Grand Comics Database
- The Darkness (2002-2005) at the Comic Book DB
- THE PULSE news of Phil Hester ongoing Darkness Series
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed volume 1
- ^ The DARKNESS Vol. 1, #31
- ^ The Darkness: Origins Vol. 1
- ^ Darkness vol. 1 #40
- ^ Darkness vol. 2 #1
- ^ Universe #3
- ^ Darkness Vol.3 #1
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol.2
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol.4
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol. 1
- ^ The DARKNESS Vol. 2, #23
- ^ The Darkness Vol.1 #24
- ^ The Darkness/Superman Vol.1 #1
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol.1
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol.1
- ^ The Darkness Vol.3 #92
- ^ The Darkness: Accursed Vol.1
- ^ The Darkness Vol.3 #92
- ^ The Darkness Vol.3 #88
- ^ The Darkness vol. 2, Issues #1-3
- ^ The Darkness/Batman Vol.1
- ^ The Darkness Vol.3 #91
- ^ The Darkness Vol.1 #38
- ^ The Darkness: Levels at the Comic Book DB
Characters Crossovers Spin offs People
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