Written by Christopher Sebela
Art by Niko Walter & Dan Brown
Publisher: Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: “SERIES PREMIERE! Detective Scott Graves will do anything to protect his family… even bargain away his soul. Now, the only thing to fear isn’t New York’s worst criminals, but what’s already raging inside of him. After all, what’s the cost of your soul when it’s already damaged?”
I love comics about demons. Possession, the devil, satanic cults, etc. You name it. If it’s occult, I’ll devour it. I suppose I should clarify that it has to take itself seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good laugh at the devil shoving a pineapple up Hitler’s ass, but when it comes to comics oftentimes satanic and occult imagery and symbolism gets used to peddle something lasciviously mediocre and that’s just lazy writing. I like it to be dark. I wanna see sacrifices, and blood, and Hell, and gore. I want imagery that disturbs you in your soul. Maybe it’s because my upbringing was religious and as a kid I was scared shitless of all that stuff. (I should probably see a psychologist about that…) Demonic #1 gave me exactly what I wanted and more.
The story starts out simple enough; two cops on their way to a domestic disturbance call, something they’ve clearly dealt with countless times before. This particular case turns out to be far more brutal, and far more personal than they could’ve imagined. Our main character, Scott, stumbles upon a gruesome scene of ritualistic violence, and it’s suggested that his past potentially has some direct connection with what is going on. I really love the mystery here. The development of the story and the turns it takes are enough to hook you even without the lingering questions of the past, but it’s a nice addition to the story.
I also love that Scott has a family, with a young daughter who’s clearly ill, having been in and out of the hospital & doctor’s offices for most of her life. It adds an aspect to the plot that, as a family man myself, I feel more for the character, for Scott. I can put myself in his shoes and relate to the idea that you’d do anything, literally ANYTHING, to protect and save your child. The groundwork that Christopher Sebela has laid in this first issue, and the directions that he appears to be taking the story are incredibly intriguing. Robert Kirkman actually created the concept for this series, but Sebela takes it and entirely makes it his own beast.
The artwork for Demonic is absolutely incredible. This seems to be the first time Niko Walter has done the art for a series. If I’m wrong I trust the always respectful internet horde to politely correct me. If that is true though then I can tell you I’m very surprised. He’s incredibly talented and I expect he’ll become a pretty in demand creator from this point forward. I almost get a Paul Azaceta vibe from his style, but it feels completely fresh at the same time. There are two pages that I really loved. The first is the aforementioned “gruesome scene of ritualistic violence” (it’s actually just a couple panels), and the second one I can’t tell you about because it would kind of spoil the ending. Suffice to say, the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6, and the entire page 20.
Dan Brown’s colors also give Demonic an appealing look. The bright red blood amidst splashes of light browns, dark yellows, and grays really makes the savage qualities stand out. I also love how his colors express the emotions of the characters so perfectly. There’s a panel where Scott is lit up red, not blood red but more like an orange-ish red, because he’s scared and panicked about his daughter. It was so perfect.
Demonic #1 is a brilliant start to what is sure to be a brutal and revealing journey for Detective Graves, and I plan to join him the entire way. I 100% recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of Outcast by Kirkman & Azeceta, and/or if you liked the recently released Kill Or Be Killed #1 from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Demonic #1 is in comic shops today so make sure you pick up a copy when you head down to yours, or get it digitally from the Comixology link at the top of the page.
Music Pairing –
I had a tough time with this one. I really wanted to go with some kind of black metal, or at least a blackened-doom metal band but none seemed to match right. I decided to go with Ghost because it’s dark, occult metal but it’s not overpowering. Jam ’em while you read Demonic #1.