Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Demonology #3 - Reincarnation!

The third issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon pits Jason Blood and his gargoylish alter-ego against a deadly cult. The Cult of the Master-Eye is on a campaign to kill its critics, notably Jason Blood's ally Randu Singh, a United Nations delegate. Randu shares Blood's secret about The Demon as does his other friend Harry Matthews.

The story begins when a murderous Neanderthal roams the streets of Gotham City and eludes capture by the police by hopping into a car driven by two of the cult members. The caveman reverts to his modern identity and later we learn he was arrested by the police but with little connection to the crime. The cult uses a giant Eye device to regress selected victims back along their line of reincarnated lives.

This issue's cover is a a whopper, but alas it refers to a powerful dream Jason Blood has in which he and the Demon are chained together. While Jason wants to flee the monstrous danger, the Demon is all to eager to confront it.

After he awakes, Jason is aware of the reincarnation problem, and just as he and Harry are discussing it, Harry changes into a pirate named "Pistol" and tries to kill Jason. Randu arrives and stops the fight and Harry returns to normal.

Then we go to the secret lair of the cult and we see them regress another victim, turning him into Mord, a medieval executioner. Armed with an axe Mord goes to Blood's apartment to kill Randu and finds instead Blood who changes into the Demon. A battle ensues and the Demon defeats Mord who hops on the helicopter that brought him as does the Demon stealthily and so he gets a free ride to the hidden cult hideout.

Once the copter lands, the cultists find their acolyte unconscious and suddenly the Demon is among them. He descends into the lair and ultimately destroys the Eye device, but not before it devolves the leader of the cult into a pre-human slug, a slug the Demon smashes beneath his foot. From a distance Randu causes the change to come again and the Demon reverts back to his human form of Jason Blood as the story ends.

This is a solid one-off adventure with plenty of weirdness. The bright four-color madness of a typical Kirby page, especially one inked by the energetic Mike Royer seems an odd canvas for a mystery tale of this type, but it somehow suits the apish antics of the nimble Demon. Kirby draws Etrigan always in a crouch like some beast ready to pounce. It underlines his inhuman nature, despite his oddball poetic speech pattern.

More to come.

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