"The Demon: Hell is Earth #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Andrew Constant
Illustrated by Brad Walker
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
2017, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on November 22nd, 2017
There are some characters in super hero comics that I never really “got.” Etrigan is one such character. He's supposed to be this horrifying creature from Hell, but he speaks in rhyme like a Dr. Seuss character and his outfit is a little silly with the cape and lack of pants. After reading The Demon: Hell is Earth, I'm coming around on the character.
The comic picks up with Jason Blood, the human who shares a body with Etrigan, hanging out in Death Valley. Something supernatural has pulled him there, but he's not sure what. He keeps having these unsettling visions of a small girl calling for help. Blood is a very intriguing character, as he longs for death. He keeps Etrigan at bay, but recognizes there are times he needs the creature. Blood has endured this torturous existence for far too long and hopes to end it all soon. You can imagine his excitement when a bomb is detonated in the area.
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This sequence is absolutely gorgeous. Artist Brad Walker perfectly captures the sheer power and magnitude of a massive explosion. The bomb is supernatural in origin, so the mushroom cloud has some demonic faces in it which looks like something from a heavy metal album cover. The cloud rampages towards Blood as he is forced to make a decision. Does he stand back and hope the blast finally kills him? Or does he call forth Etrigan and live to see another day? You can practically feel the oppressive force of the impact as he flies towards Blood.
The bright orange light from the blast, provided by colorist Chris Sotomayor, serves as a nice contrast against the harsh desert landscape. There's one panel where the cloud has all but engulfed Blood. He looks like a small spec in the midst of such fire and fury.
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I really love the dynamic between Blood and Etrigan. The Demon serves as this unholy conscience, tormenting Blood's every waking hour. There are moments where the creature reaches through reality, making you wonder if he's only in the man's head or if he's something more. This is shown well in the opening pages when Blood reaches for a bottle near a mirror and looks up to see Etrigan staring back at him, with his hand on the bottle too.
One of my biggest issues with Etrigan is the rhyming and thankfully that's nearly non-existent in Hell is Earth. They even comment on its absence. It does show up on occasion, but it's not constant. The Demon's appearance is rather menacing here. He's all muscle and fire, like he's been working out non-stop in Hell itself. Flames billow out of his mouth as his eyes glow red above. His fingernails are long and jagged, not quite like claws, but still rather disturbing.
The Demon: Hell is Earth has given me a newfound appreciation for Etrigan, if for nothing else than the interaction between him and Jason Blood. I'm definitely more interested in the characters if this is the caliber of storytelling we get.