Demonic #1 Review

Posted August 17, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Christopher Sebela

Art by: Niko Walter & Dan Brown

Publisher: Image Comics

Reviewing Demonic #1 just a few weeks after the debut of Kill or Be Killed puts me in kind of an odd spot. The two are so similar that it’s hard not to draw comparisons, and say that one is better than the other. Honestly, I don’t think that’s particularly productive when it comes to actually writing a review. So I’m going to do my best to evaluate Demonic on its own merits rather than compare it to the other books coming out right that it is similar to. Before that, though, I will say that there a lot of books coming out that are scratching the supernatural detective/noir story itch, so I am experiencing a little bit of fatigue when it comes to that genre.

That being said, I really liked this issue. Right off the bat, the characters feel like genuine human beings. the dialogue in the opening pages is interesting, and serves as a solid way to introduce two members of the cast. In terms of dialogue, Christopher Sebela nails it for the majority of the issue. Every character in the book is interesting, even if they aren’t all immediately likable. That being said, I did kind of feel like I was missing something. The issue probably could have benefited from being even a little bit longer. More actual characterization was necessary, and some of it is delivered solely as exposition.

Anyways, there’s not much else I can really critique the writing on. It’s really well done, and yet, by the end of this issue, the book didn’t have its hooks in me. I enjoyed it, but I’m not super motivated to come back for more. Which I don’t think speaks to the quality of the writing – which is quite high – but rather to the amount of books occupying this space coming out right now. Perhaps the next issue will rectify that.

Despite excellent writing, I do have some issues with the art. For the most part, Niko Walter and Dan Brown develop an aesthetic that looks really good. However, there are pages where characters look markedly different. Sometimes, this is due to coloring, others, due to the pencilling. It’s not super frequent, but the fact that I had to go back a bit to figure out who certain characters were was a bummer. In general, I also didn’t find the color pallet to be interesting. Being dark and muted is one thing, but the tans and browns in this issue just look muddy. I get that it’s going for a grimy feel, but honestly, I don’t think that matches the story being told here all that well.

What it comes down to with Demonic #1, at least for me, is that there are just too many books like this coming out that I’m enjoying. This one was unfortunate to come out in the same summer, and at the end of a string of excellent new noir/detective stories kicking off. If you’re looking for more of that, Demonic is really quite good. The character work is great, and the plot is pretty cool. The art is a little rough, but for the most part that’s pretty solid.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.