Sunday, October 12, 2014

Demonology #6 - The Howler!

The sixth issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon picks up the action immediately after that of the previous issue. There's a reasonable sense of continuity in Kirby's mystic series.

The Demon in his guise as Jason Blood is still in Transylvania having just defeated the Iron Duke and Ugly Meg when at a local pub he hears a ruckus in the street. The locals are terrified and the proprietor immediately beings to lock the doors and windows in fear of something called "The Howler". Despite the warnings of the locals, Jason heads out into the night and soon enough encounters a great furry monster.

He changes himself into the Demon with the incantation (a new development) and a ferocious battle follows with the Demon's flames finally fending off "The Howler". Merlin appears and calms the Demon and then returns to his other-dimensional plane. The Demon leaps on a horse and leaves the area but in the wood behind him feral eyes are watching closely.

The story jumps ahead a few weeks when Jason is boarding a plane for the return to Gotham City when another passenger named Eric Shiller, an anthropologist sits next to him and reveals that he is the Howler and that he wishes Jason to uses his knowledge of demonology to exorcise the beast spirit from him.

The story picks up again in Jason's apartment as the exorcism begins but Glenda Mark arrives interrupting the proceedings. This allows Shiller to again turn into the beast and his pursuit of Blood continues as he wishes to pass along the curse to him. Another battle rages until Jason again summons Etrigan and the Demon unleashes his flames which drive the Howler out the window of the apartment and into the distant street below. Jason and Glenda commiserate as Shiller's body is inspected by an unnamed passerby who is suddenly overcome and wanders off. The story closes as an ominous howl erupts through the Gotham City night.

This is rock solid Demon adventure. The Howler is a powerful looking werewolf, though that word is never used. Kirby had a way with drawing such monsters, his other DC werewolf being Lupek from the planet Transilvane as revealed in the Fourth World adventures in Jimmy Olsen.

Sadly the Howler never reappears in the Demon series, though if it had gone on long enough, I'm sure it would have. Shiller's story is brief but truly tragic.

More to come.

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