**This book drops November 22, 2017. MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND PUT SOME MOOLAH ASIDE!**
It’s kinda funny – in the midst of all this Jack Kirby celebrating that’s been going on with DC Comics, one of my favorite Kirby creations has been overlooked. And really, it’s more of “sidelined” than “overlooked,” because I haven’t seen a trace of him since Gail Simone’s Secret Six, and before that the painfully short run of Demon Knights. Kirby debuted Etrigan the Demon and Jason Blood in the Demon #1 in in 1972, and for the first time in what feels like forever they’re back and in the middle of some bad craziness.
The first issue of this six-issue miniseries (which, let’s be frank: DC has been absolutely KILLING IT with its selection of minis) is a succinct and fascinating re-introduction to the cursed pair, opening with a great scene as Etrigran confronts Blood in a mirror (comically called out by the former knight as using a hacky trope). Here we see Blood tortured by knowledge of what resides within him, and locked in self-imposed isolation.
New DC writer Andrew Constant presents a ragged Jason Blood, still with a sharp tongue, confronting the evil inside him. His Etrigan is also very well portrayed because lest we forget Etrigan is A FUCKING DEMON and therefore is a horrible, malicious beast. He taunts his host mercilessly, reminding him that although he’s been pent up for a while he’s bound to emerge eventually. Constant weaves magic with this dialogue, forming an antagonistic conversation between the two.
Constant’s ear for dialogue is killer, from the worried concern of the parents to the aforementioned Blood/Etrigan mirror scene, to a frenzied scene in a missile command center that tells a terrible backstory with only a (seemingly) throw-away sentence.
Brad Walker is also a revelation here, as his renditions of Blood and Etrigan somehow manage to tread the line between retro Kirby-esque and modern clean. He has a great sense of proportion for the monstrous demon, and his shabby Jason Blood is one of the best representations I’ve come across; he looks like a man at constant war with himself. Walker’s pencils are rendered even more powerful through the work of Andrew Hennessy’s exquisite inks; Hennessy fleshes out these characters, going thick and dark when he needs to, or delicate and fine when the scene needs it. It was that sensibility of light and dark that helped to set a great tone.
Walker also does a great job with his Madame Xanadu redesign, giving her a sleek modern feel. Of course, none of the artwork would be nearly as pitch-perfect without the efforts of sublime colorist Chris Sotomayor. The colors in this issue reflect a bevy of moods, the ambiance of each scene rendered wonderfully. Sotomayor also doesn’t shy away from letting the bold colors of Etrigan seem faded – his yellow skin and red tunic pop off the page. It’s a masterful stroke (pardon the pun) for Sotomayor, and the artwork really benefits from his eye.
This is a tremendous debut for this mini – Constant comes out all cylinders firing with this tale of self-loathing, isolation, empathy, hellfire, and fate. It reads very quickly, and is easy on the eyes to boot; Honestly, the team of Walker, Hennessy, and Sotomayor presents a visual feast. I can’t place enough praise on this, nor can I encourage you any more vehemently to buy it.