This one came completely out of left field. I’ve been so enormously bored by every comic book I’ve gotten my hands on lately, that seeing someone come up with and execute a genuinely interesting idea is extremely satisfying.
The book opens with two detectives, a grisly murder and then, in what proved to be a great surprise to me, escalates very, very quickly. There’s very little I can tell you about the book that won’t spoil the plot, except that the title is very literal and this could very easily be a good Stephen King book in graphic novel form.
If you’re the sort who doesn’t mind a few spoilers, here’s a quick summary of what Demonic is about. If you’d prefer not to know, skip ahead to after the “spoilers end” tag.
Our protagonist, Scott Graves, investigates a murder with his partner only to encounter the murderer who claims to be possessed by demons, and talks to him about (what I think is a cult called) Novo. The mention of Novo wakes something up inside Scott, and Scott’s pet demon along with it.
When Scott’s daughter is lying in a hospital bed dying, Scott agrees to do what his personal demon wants – who, Supernatural style, seems to be using him like a meat suit, with the only difference being that Scott still has his personality and memories and sense of self intact.
And, when his daughter wakes up and his demon demands that he fulfill his end of the bargain, well, things get pretty crazy and bloody from there.
What makes the book interesting is the fact that I was left questioning the protagonist’s sanity by the end of it. While yes, there are demons, and hints about occult dabblings that have scarred our protagonist and others like him, he comes across as mad as a hatter as the story evolves.
There’s enough teasing of a mystery here to keep me interested in where the series is going, and just enough explanations about what’s going on to keep Demonic #1 from being vague and uninteresting. Added to that is that no panel is wasted; every single thing that you see and read pushed the plot incrementally forward, making Demonic a surprisingly brisk read.
But what really sets this book apart from others of its kind that I’ve read is that, unlike most horror comics, Demonic is actually rather chilling. It doesn’t try to pull off the comic book equivalent of jump scares; it doesn’t waste time with over-the-top monstrosities; it grounds itself firmly in the real-world and then turns the insanity dial all the way up to 11.
Christopher Sebela writes a very tight story, giving Demonic a strikingly memorable opening issue. Niko Walter’s pencils and Dan Brown’s colours take that tight story and draw panels that burn themselves into your brain. There’s some wonderful use of light and dark here and the introduction of our protagonist’s personal nemesis is straight-up Biblical.
All in all, Demonic #1 is an excellent first issue and I’m waiting, eagerly, to see where the series goes. Get the first issue here, if you’re interested.
With a brisk pace, several twists and a story that looks like it’s going towards interesting places, Demonic #1 seems very worthy of your time and money.