Sunday, October 19, 2014

Demonology #10 - Soul Snatcher!

The tenth issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon is an action fest finishing the three-part saga of the Phantom of the Sewers.

The story begins when the Demon ascends onto the dilapidated stage to which the Phantom has brought Glenda Mark, falsely believing her to be a sorceress named Galatea who he blames for disfiguring his face many years before. The Demon casts a spell which calls back time and we see the stage new as it was the night a handsome Farley Fairfax was on it before an appreciative audience and Galatea is casting the spell which summons a creature called the Soul Snatcher which attacks Farley and takes the thing most precious to him.

Farley Fairfax's face is awful to behold. As the modern world reasserts itself the Demon calls forth the "Satan's own steward" Asmoden and defeats him to gain the power to find Galatea. It turns out Galatea is dead, so the Demon uses magic words to bring her spirit to the stage where it enters the body of Glenda.

Glenda, now inhabited by the vile spirit of Galatea rushes to concoct the spell and offers up to Farley Fairfax the thing he most wanted. He falls for it and is given back his face but then the years catch up to him and he dies of old age in mere moments. Galatea's spirit has left the body of Glenda and disappeared. The police arrive and the Demon escapes.

Meanwhile Randu Singh and Harry Mathews search for Glenda and Jason Blood, but find the hidden lair of the Phantom of the Sewers. There they find the wax manikin of Galatea, now inhabited by her ghost. The maniken moves uncovering a hidden bomb. The duo rush out to escape the blast which demolishes the lair and melts the manikin. The Demon appears to wish Galatea a proper rest.

Though clearly inspired by the classic Phantom of the Opera, this story has enough spins and turns to keep it fresh. The addition of Asmoden this issue was particularly interesting as the contentious relationship with the Demon really shows how he fits into the larger demonic universe, and that's not very well.

Clearly Farley Fairfax is called out for his vanity, which seems to be equated with his soul through the story. His madness is a clear result of his having lost his looks and his inability to move beyond that surface loss.

I'm not sure if we're to see any connection between Fairfax's situation and Blood's dilemma with the Demon,  where he too seems not to want to accept what has happened to him, but I suppose the parallel can be drawn.

I'm not sure three issues were needed to tell this story, maybe two would've sufficed, but it's a typically bouncy and fun ride as most Kirby stories of this era are.

More to come.

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