Things look dire in The Darkhold Alpha preview

Darkhold Alpha #1
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Updated: Marvel Comics' Darkhold event is finally coming back off the proverbial shelf and into comic stores this September and Marvel has just released four new preview pages from The Darkhold Alpha #1. 

Check them along with three previously released pages below. 

Originally announced to debut in the summer of 2020 in advance of Disney Plus' WandaVision, Steve Orlando and Cian Tormey's Darkhold Alpha #1 has now been re-scheduled to debut September 22.

"In a story that will delight and terrify, the infamous Darkhold text has resurfaced, and the Scarlet Witch is the only hero who can prevent the dreadful havoc it's set to unleash," reads Marvel's description of Darkhold Alpha #1.

That's right, the same Darkhold which appeared in WandaVision - and ended up in Wanda's hands by the end of the show.

In comic books, this book of black magic hasn't made it into Wanda's hands (yet) but rather into the possession of Doctor Doom. In an attempt to stave off this disaster waiting to happen, the Scarlet Witch will recruit an unlikely group of heroes - Iron Man, Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Black Bolt, Blade, and Spider-Man - to stop him. But there's a hitch - Doctor Doom is working with the Darkhold's original author, Chthon, who exists in a dimension all his own.

"But in order to enter Chthon's dimension and fight him, the heroes must read from the legendary Darkhold, which drives them utterly insane," Marvel's description continues. "Together, they'll have to confront their inner darkness to overcome one of the most powerful mystical threats the Marvel Universe has ever faced."

Marvel's original 2020 plans for Darkhold was for Darkhold Alpha #1 to be followed by five character-specific one-shots with each of Wanda's recruited heroes (Iron Man, Wasp, Black Bolt, Spider-Man, and Blade), then wrapping up with Darkhold Omega #1. In Marvel's rescheduling announcement, it says Darkhold will be told "across a series of one-shots, each focusing on a different hero", so it seems the same plan is in place.

"At last, we're ready to open the Darkhold together," Orlando says in the announcement of a new release date. "Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom are two of Marvel's most intimidating icons! And I am so excited for you all to get on board with this journey that pushes Wanda to the limit, as five of Marvel's biggest heroes must overcome the nightmares held by the Darkhold's pages, to stand with Wanda against one of her oldest enemies."

And FYI, a Marvel spokesman has confirmed to Newsarama that the events of Darkhold take place before the events of July's X-Factor #10,  which features the highly-publicized murder of the Scarlet Witch.

Original story follows...

After the dark magic spellbook Darkhold appeared in Disney Plus' WandaVision (spoilers, especially for that last WandaVision episode), an obvious question is… hey, what happened to Marvel Comics' planned Darkhold event starring the Scarlet Witch?

Originally announced to begin last summer, Darkhold would've been an ideal comic for fans of WandaVision to turn to between each episode - and now as fans are ravenous for more. We'll leave the Monday morning quarterbacking to others; instead, we've looked for answers, and found some that point to Marvel Comics' Darkhold event coming out later this year.

What is Marvel's The Darkhold comic event?

(Image credit: Greg Smallwood (Marvel Comics))

Announced 12 months ago for a planned June 2020 debut, Darkhold Alpha #1 was the first in a planned seven-part magic-themed Marvel Comics event with the Scarlet Witch assembling a team of heroes to fight Doctor Doom, who had re-discovered the Darkhold. 

"Darkhold sees Doctor Doom unearth the ancient Darkhold, a text written by the elder god Chthon, and unintentionally opening a passageway for Chthon to return to our dimension," reads Marvel's description of the event. "To enter Chthon's dimension and fight him, the heroes must read from the Darkhold, which drives them insane."

Darkhold Alpha #1 was announced as by writer Steve Orlando and artist Cian Tormey.

Darkhold Alpha #1 was to be followed by five character-specific one-shots with each of Wanda's recruited heroes (Iron Man, Wasp, Black Bolt, Spider-Man, and Blade), then wrapping up with Darkhold Omega #1. 

Why didn't Darkhold come out as planned?

Darkhold Alpha - and all comics across the board - were put on hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but while almost all titles were later rescheduled this was one of the precious few that remained on the bench. One of those, Infinite Destinies, was recently rescheduled for a 2021 debut and now it seems Darkhold Alpha may be on the cusp of the same.

When will Darkhold be released?

(Image credit: Greg Smallwood (Marvel Comics))

"Hopefully there's news soon!" Orlando tells Newsarama. "I wish I could tell you a bit more now, but for now all I can say is you'll be seeing this story in the future, and what I've seen of it is incredibly exciting. Cian Tormey has done picture-perfect work for our little trip into madness."

Amazon has listed a collected edition of this Darkhold event for a January 25, 2022 release date - which if that holds, would presumably mean the issues would mean sometime between June 2021 and January 2022.

Marvel has not responded to our inquiries about Darkhold.

Darkhold is one of several 2020 Marvel titles that never came out - and we can't blame Agatha for that (or can we?).

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)