DC’s rhyming announcement that The Demon would return was met with much excitement and thankfully this issue lives up to the hype. It sets up the key pieces of the story quite beautifully and the artwork is simply top-notch. Many have been frustrated with the big two as of late, but this is an issue worth returning for. It feels more like it came from Vertigo than DC and is seemingly unconnected to the rest of the universe. There have been different versions of Etrigan over the years, but this is the one we have been waiting for.
Andrew Constant’s writing is very well-balanced and hits all the notes one would hope for. The rhyming works perfectly and he uses just the right amount of archaic language to invoke the Arthurian vibe. All the little pieces in the story are unconnected at this point, but they fill the story with intrigue and makes me want to keep reading it. Also, we see lots of the expected Jason Blood battling his literal inner demon. This is done in a way that I wanted to roll my eyes at, but then I found myself laughing as Constant draws attention to this expected reader reaction! And that’s not the only meta moment! Madame Xanadu also makes an appearance and her soliloquies comment was fantastic. Speaking of Xanadu, one of the things I liked best about this issue is the attention to audience. This was not written with only straight men in mind and this shows in the way that she prevents what could have been a sexual assault as well as the, mostly, gratuitous depiction of Jason’s topless hairy chest.
It is not just the writing that is spectacular! There are points where the art, done by Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy, is AMAZING! The scene where Jason Blood finally says the words that will free Etrigan stands out in particular. Normally, I would consider that a spoiler and not include it in the review, but the cover makes it pretty clear that this was going to happen. The way that the word balloons cascade down the page with the panels forming an arch across the top frame the event quite impressively; they leave just the right amount of room for the larger image underneath it all to really make an impact on the reader. Also, they slow down the time making what is probably only a second feel much longer and more tension filled. When we finally see The Demon, Etrigan is as glorious as ever with his sheer size overtaking the panels and bleeding into the gutters. Chris Sotomayor really shines in this moment too with the fire looking quite vibrant and almost molten. Tom Napolitano also deserves some praise with so many colors, shapes, and more in the word balloons throughout the issue.
This issue is everything I wanted it to be. It balances the scary and the funny quite well while at the same time as creating some real emotional depth and intrigue. It might be a little confusing depending on how familiar one is with the character, but it seems pretty self-explanatory. It is also rewarding for fans with its mention of Camelot, Gotham, and Los Angeles showing that this story is going to be cumulative. The Demon certainly has arisen and I can’t wait for what’s next.
Writer: Andrew Constant
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Tom Napolitano