Friday, October 10, 2014

Demonology #5 - Demon's Wrath!

The fifth issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon is the second part of a two-part story featuring some deadly foes and it offers up a surprising team up as the Demon and his master Merlin work together.

The story opens as the Demon and Merlin confront the with Ugly Meg and her master the Iron Duke in a tiny kingdom in Europe. Meg evokes a tree creature to battle the Demon but this proves an insufficient threat to our hero. She and the Iron Duke then vanish.

Merlin and the Demon then ride a horse into the kingdom approaching the Iron Duke's castle. Some of the local population appear and implore Merlin and his assistant to rid them of the evil Duke. Merlin then gives the horse wings and the pair fly into the castle.

The story shifts briefly back to Randu Singh and Harry Matthews in Gotham City who are worried about Jason Blood. Randu uses his powers of ESP to try and make contact and he sees Merlin and the Demon struck down when Meg uses fire to defeat them.

Jason and Merlin are held captive, stripped of their immortal powers. The Iron Duke and Ugly Meg appear and the Duke reveals his plan to take the mind and powers of Merlin by use of enchanted bags which fit over the head of the victims. But when Ugly Meg puts the bag on the Duke's head she reveals her true power to make him her slave and changes him into an iron statue subject to her will. She orders the "Manniken" to throw Jason Blood from the tower of the castle but Jason turns into the Demon through his own power and attacks.

After a furious battle the Demon defeats Meg when she falls in the path of her iron slave and they both fall their doom. The secret of Meg's power is revealed when the Demon frees Merlin and together they find hidden beneath the castle an enormous tentacled creature from another dimension called a Sommnabula or "Dream Beast". It was the power of the Sommnabula which enable Jason to turn himself into the Demon. Merlin frees the beast and he and the Demon leave the castle.

This was a solid two-part adventure with some neat twists. The magical beasts were pretty imaginative and the turn of Ugly Meg on the clueless Iron Duke was a proper surprise. Merlin's presence in the story is largely unexplained, it's just something he can apparently do.

The Demon really seems different in Merlin's presence, his relatively small size is much more obvious and it makes him a much creepier character.

More to come.

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  1. The art here really displays some of the wild kinetic energy Kirby was known for.
    Mass and matter colliding, at high speeds.

    1. Totally agree! While I'm one of those who argues that despite whatever shortcomings purists might have about Vinnie Colletta, he gave Kirby's work an elegance, but there's no doubt that Mike Royer came along and we got the full charge of what Kirby pencils could deliver, more vital for sure.

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