A cover can say a lot to the reader, and in the case of Demonic #1 (Image Comics), it says everything. The image of an ordinary man in an alley, his shadow twisted into something evil as it overtakes most of the cover – one can instantly surmise that whatever is between the covers cannot be good.
The comic starts out innocently enough: the time-tested set up of two detectives, Scott Graves and Dani Fischer, answering a routine call of a domestic disturbance – according to them, mundane and boring. Their banter along the drive brings the reader into their familiar partnership. When they arrive at the scene, they are greeted by a body falling from the sky and landing on the pavement in front of them.
After heading upstairs and listening to the ramblings of demons from the woman behind the door, the normally play-it-safe Scott rushes in and tries to talk her down. The woman with the ax talks to him about things that he seems to understand. The mention of “Novo” sparks a memory in Scott of something from his childhood. But, before he can obtain much-needed answers, the woman is shot down. As the story progresses, we learn that this domestic disturbance call was just the start of something very bad, leading our “hero” down a dark and dangerous path filled with demons.
Created by Robert Kirkman and Mark Silvestri, Demonic #1 is about much more than demons. It takes the reader into a world of choices and the repercussions of those decisions. What would you do and how far would you go for someone you loved? What if your entire life you had been unwittingly primed for something terrible? What if you chose a road that turned you into a puppet for evil? Or, what if you always had that sinister side, and you just now embraced it?
Writer Christopher Sebela puts forth these questions and more in a winding, ever-shifting narrative. As the story unfolds, the lines of reality blur, which allows for a much more entertaining read. Determining what is real and what is imaginary will most likely be key in the issues to come and will probably be highly debated for this introductory comic. Meshed with the incredible artwork of Niko Walter and coloring of Dan Brown, there is a lot to discover in every pane. It’s easy to go back and reread, finding little nuances that alter one’s perspective on the tension-filled story.
With the mystery of the “Novo” and the morality of Scott’s decisions looming over the comic, Demonic #1 definitely has what it takes to keep readers enthralled for a long time to come.