Monday, March 16, 2009

Killer of Demons #1

I'm sure we've all imagined what the end of the world might look like in a purely Biblical sense. Angels and demons throwing down in the streets, hellfire and brimstone devouring the nonbelievers, the whole nine yards… but what if that final battle between good and evil was a bit more subtle? More pointedly, what if Hell has already invaded Earth and nobody bothered to notice? That's precisely the predicament envisioned by mild-mannered account executive Dave Sloan. Goaded on by his own personal guardian angel (complete with sandals, toga and cigar) Sloan's taken on the responsibility of ending that battle before it's begun, hunting down the Earthbound demons and executing them before they can shed their human disguise.

Of course, there's no telling whether he's actually saving the world from an invading force of legendary monsters or just madly slaughtering anyone who looks at him the wrong way. And don't think he isn't aware of that conundrum. Christopher Yost's smooth storytelling plants the seeds of doubt early, promising a road with plenty of twists and turns before it delivers its final analysis at the conclusion of this three-issue mini-series. Sloan is a fine lead character, sure of what he's seeing but not of his own state of mind. Is the senior VP really sporting a pair of magnificent, curled horns around his temples? Did those pills his therapist prescribed solve his problems or amplify them? Dan isn't sure, and neither are we – the only thing that's obvious is the ever-increasing body count accumulating around his feet.

Atomic Robo veteran Scott Wegener provides the artwork, which takes an even looser, more stylized form than his previous works. His contributions give Killer of Demons an immediate, distinct personality that's tough to look away from. Clearly having a great time with both the subject matter and the sheer volume of blood n' guts, Wegener's artwork is every bit as much fun to take in as I'm sure it was to pencil in the first place. His action scenes in particular are outstanding, with Dan transforming from a worn-down, confused working stiff into an honest-to-god action hero somewhere in the pause between panels. He's found a great fit in colorist Ronda Pattison, whose bold, appropriate shifts in palette keep the issue looking fresh and expertly manage the wild shifts of emotion intended by the story. This is a damn fine looking book.

Yost and Wegener's black comedy is a rousing success. If you enjoyed the sick sense of humor and crazed, "Did that really just happen?" twists of Shaun of the Dead or Army of Darkness, this is meant for you. It doesn't deliver any punchlines, but that won't stop you from grinning ear to ear for the duration. Buy it.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 9

1 comment:

Brent Wachter said...

The writing is a one liner that goes on and on, the artwork is flat and needs work as if it was done quickly and without much thought. I don't think he knows true perspective.The coloring looks copied from someone else's work with shifted colors and tacky photoshop techniques instead of some true artistic insight. Texture and form can be created with much more than the stamp and light effects tools. The creators need to learn how to communicate to each other, and perhaps with themselves. They need to look back at some good original works and think about what they are doing. Perhaps a real look with the drawing instead of stylized characatures would make more sense considering the questionable reality of the story line. It's like a cheap summer flick that could have been something interesting if it weren't for the creative staff that got a half decent idea and couldn't work up to it's potential.