Demonic Volume 1

Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artists: Dan Brown and Niko Walter
Publisher: Image

A review by Anelise Farris

Demonic Volume 1 CoverDemonic is based on an idea posited by Robert Kirkman (of The Walking Dead fame), and it is masterfully executed by Christopher Sebela, a writer who manages to effectively blend two genres: horror and crime. Scott Graves is a detective that seems to have it all: family, job, health. However, after a word from his past resurfaces—“Novo”—Scott’s demons are unleashed, both literally and figuratively. From here, things only go downhill, as Scott’s daughter is hospitalized with a mysterious illness.

With the doctors at a loss, a demon named Aeshma gives Scott an ultimatum: do my bidding, and your daughter will live. Essentially, Scott becomes an agent for demonic vigilantism, with the seductive Aeshma as his possessor. And, while Scott might not be a killer at his heart, he is more than willing to torture his victims in order to get information about the mysterious Novo cult. As the first volume of Demonic comes to an end, the trouble escalates as Scott has a final confrontation with Novo and his loved ones learn his deadly secret.

This is sophisticated horror. There is a whole lot of blood, like one might expect, but the art is not in any way conventional. It is realistic, elegant, textured, and the artists play with perspective, panel design, and the use of color to reflect mood. The rich art mixed with the careful dialogue imbue the comic with a certain complexity.

The best stories about demonic possession are those that make you care about the possessed, that depict them in a human light rather than as merely a monster. And that is exactly what happens in Demonic. There is an emotional weight to this story: the hopelessness a parent feels when their child is in danger, the martial tension that arise between the parents, and the lengths one will go to protect their family—forcing readers to ask, just how far is too far?

The Verdict
Buy it!
In Demonic Volume 1, which collects the first six issues, the fears are both of the fantastical and the human, giving it a two-fold power that ensures that you won’t forget it anytime soon. 

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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