Master Darque is a fictional character, a Valiant Comics villain that first appeared in Shadowman #8 (December 1992) and later became a staple villain in both the Shadowman and Second Life of Dr. Mirage comic books. He may be the most powerful villain in the comics' fictional universe, responsible for the creation of several others.
When Acclaim Entertainment bought Valiant for $65 million, they changed the Master Darque character, along with most for the Valiant universe, and gave him his own series (Darque Passages) under the Acclaim Comics banner.
Fictional character biography
Little is known about Master Darque. He was born in 1802, and soon delved into magic, or more specifically, the Black Arts. He became apprentice to sorcerer Anton Quigley, and the two made a horrifically evil pair.
Quigley, with his arcane knowledge, and Darque, whose earthly frame held necromantic energy were well prepared to wreak havoc upon the law-abiding universe.
Quigley, upon meeting Darque's sister, Sandria, instantly wanted her for his own dark pleasures. He made a pact with Darque to teach him all he knew, in exchange for Sandria. As Darque learned sorcery, the formulas tattooed themselves on his body from the inside out, completely covering him with evil writing.
As his body became saturated with the spells, so too did that of his sister, since whatever happens to Darque happens to Sandria. When Quigley tried to take pleasure from Sandria, her kiss burned him with the dark energies which inhabited her body and those of her brother. Quigley tried to kill her, only to have Darque revive her with his own blood. Quigley was later killed by the first Shadowman (Maxim St James).
After Darque learned the secrets Quigley had to offer him, he quickly surpassed his old master in the Black Arts. He used this extensive knowledge in sorcery and magic to prolong his life, as well as that of his sister.
In recent years, Darque's necromantic powers have blossomed to horrific new extents, as though some new source of death-energy had arrived in the world. Now, after years of seemingly pointless existence, Darque finds himself with enough power to challenge the many new superhumans who intrude on his dark ruling.
Confrontations with Valiant heroes
The first to oppose his evil plans was Nettie, voodoo queen of New Orleans. Up to this day, when performing voodoo rituals, she has the power to become as young as she was in 1895 again. She created the first Shadowman, Maxim St. James, after Quigley's men beat him to near death. She became his advisor, and the two battled Darque on several occasions.
Underground for quite some time, Darque recently came back even stronger, so Nettie created another Shadowman to thwart Darque. The man she picked was Jack Boniface, a jazz musician in New Orleans. He was bitten by a spider alien sent by Darque in order to partially block the power Jack derives from the mask.
Darque's sister was gravely ill for a time, so Darque sent Boniface through time to gather the raw energy which could cure Sandria. She then absorbed his energy and was able to live again.
However, violating his sister's wishes, Darque siphoned the excess energy from Sandria, winning her eternal hatred.
Upon mastering the Black Magic, Darque also created several superbeings. One such being, a man named Fred Bender, sought out Master Darque to provide him with the power to obtain revenge on Solar. Darque replaced Bender's cells with dark power, turning him into Doctor Eclipse.
In another instance, Doctor Hwen Mirage and his wife Carmen Ruiz were investigating supernatural phenomena and came upon Darque, who had Mirage killed. Carmen's love for her husband was so strong, she brought his spirit back from the dead. Filled with dark energy, Mirage and his wife bumped heads with Master Darque time and again, and Mirage aided in the saving of Sandria, there-by creating an alliance of sorts against Darque.
Another to defy his evil plans is Gilad Abrams, the Eternal Warrior. In one notable encounter, Darque tried to collect the coins Judas received for betraying Jesus. The coins contain enough necromatic power to make Darque the most powerful being on earth. Gilad was helped by Geoff McHenry, Gilad's ally and friend who happens to be the geomancer for the late 20th century. The geomancers, the watchdogs of the earth, are able to talk to objects. However, there can be only one on the earth at one time.
Gilad's brother, Aram, has also had a hand in Darque's downfalls for many years. Since both Gilad and Aram (Armstrong to his friends) have lived for centuries, Aram has been foiling Darque's schemes ever since Darque started learning his craft.
Later, Darque encountered X-O Manowar and acquired the X-O armor for a short time. Darque is defeated and apparently killed at the end of this story.