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Matt Kamen on the story so far in Darker Than Black

Darker than BlackAs Darker Than Black draws to a close with its second season, the action-packed Gemini of the Meteor, it’s time for a refresher course on the super-powered world of espionage and assassinations – for your eyes only, of course!

What? Years ago, Tokyo was disfigured by the appearance of an unnatural warp of reality known as Hell’s Gate. In its wake, it left an altered starscape and numerous people with strange abilities tied to the new celestial map. Known as ‘Contracters’ because of the variable price they pay each time they use their powers and generally losing their human emotions, they make the perfect special agents. As such, Contractors are inevitably conscripted by the world’s governments and forced into using their skills to tip the balance of global power.

Who? The questionable hero of the piece is Hei, an electrically-charged Chinese assassin who originally worked for Syndicate, a mysterious organisation with even more secretive goals. Unlike most Contractors, Hei seemingly never had to give anything up in order to use his powers and, despite a stony facade, retains his ability to feel emotion. However, despite guiding Hei and his partners (psychic tracer Yin, body-hopping consciousness Mao and their human handler Huang) from behind the scenes, Syndicate became a threat to all Contractors, leading to Hei’s betrayal at the end of the first series.

Where? At the start of Gemini, Hei is in Russia, living out of a bottle while offering his services to the CIA – America is no longer the world’s dominant superpower, but still facing more enemies than it can fight. In the frozen wastes of Eastern Europe, Hei meets a girl named Suou, an unnaturally identical match for her twin brother Shion. As conflicting forces vie for control of the young boy, Hei and Suou race towards Tokyo to try to save him.

Why? Shion is also known under the codename ‘Izanagi’, and it seems Syndicate, the Russian Intelligence agency FSB, Britain’s own MI6 and several other agencies all have a use for the lad. The most terrifying of all is one to unite him with ‘Izanami’ – a figure from the first series, whose identity and new role will shock long time viewers. Should the two meet, the consequences will be devastating for all life on Earth.

How? Ever since the Hell’s Gate event, almost every agency on the planet had been experimenting with Contractors, leading to the development of artificial humans known as Dolls. The emergence of the powers created an arms race, but instead of merely advanced technological weapons, scientists experimented with genetics and unexplained psychic forces. The end result, Izanami and Izanagi, would prove to be much like mixing matter and anti-matter: unthinkably disastrous. While those seeking to bring the pair into contact hope that an alternate Earth would be created in the process, one free of Contractors, Hei and a rabble of his old allies are the only ones who stand a chance of stopping genocide. If they fail, either every Contractor dies or Earth itself is destroyed….

Find out how their desperate battle ends in Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, on sale now!

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