The debut issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon featured the "King's" usual style filled with bombast and bristling energy. "Unleash the One Who Waits" begins in the distant past, in the magical time of Camelot.
The sorceress Morgaine Le Fay attacks Merlin's castle with the intent of gaining access to his "Book of Eternity" which will she hopes give her immortality.
Rising in defense of the castle is Merlin's demon Etrigan, a ferocious creature. Merlin gives a scrap of the book to Etrigan and then explodes the castle leaving the unconscious form of his servant to rise and transform into a man, a man who has forgotten his true nature.
The scene shifts to the modern day and Jason Blood, a demonologist confronts a sorcerer named Warly who attacks Blood leaving him unconscious and then he and his mistress Morgaine Le Fay, alive yet but exceedingly aged leave. Jason is found by a policeman, but remembers little.
Meanwhile a continent away a strange creature descends into a hidden crypt. The scene shifts again to the Gotham City Men's Club where he and his friends Randu Singh, a United Nations delegate and Harry Matthews, a advertising agent trade blows and barbs. A party is arranged for that evening at Jason's apartment and Jason's date is Glenda Mark a beautiful blonde who is stuck how much like his ancestors Jason looks.The same mysterious giant who entered the crypt appears at Jason's door and he ends the party abruptly to head to Europe and specifically Branek Castle. There he comes under attack by Morgaine's agents but is aided by his giant companion. Descending into the crypt he finds Merlin's tomb which is also the "Book of Eternity" and once again becomes The Demon.
Kirby's take on the supernatural is singularly muscular. His style is not open to the moody atmospherics of a Berni Wrightston or Pat Boyette, but he nonetheless finds a way to infuse this story with a sense of shadow and menace. The Demon is supposed to crouch, a crooked creature opposed to the upright Jason Blood. This compact powerhouse pre-dates Wolverine and is in fact a common element of Kirby's heroic cast.
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It's also interesting that like the New Gods, this story begins at the end. We see a mighty battle and its aftermath is what bespeaks of the adventures to come. Kirby really got the big scope of heroism, the nature of change over time. It gives his work a weight and grandeur other comics of the time sorely lacked.
The story does end on a cliffhanger, which will be picked up in issue two.
More to come.