Friday, October 17, 2014

Demonology #8 - Phantom Of The Sewers!

The eighth issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon begins a story which is at once familiar and but also new.

The story opens with the Demon in Jason Blood's apartment with Harry Mathews and Randu Singh looking at the vast collection of demonologist Blood. They discover that some of the mystical items have been stolen and find a hole in the wall behind a manikin. The Demon descend into the hole and finds an opening into the sewers.

Waiting to catch him unaware is The Phantom of the Sewer, a masked man with a sword. The Demon defeats the ambush and the Phantom runs away to his hidden lair where he has a bizarre apartment which holds a massive organ and a strange manikin of a woman named Galatea. The Phantom plays music to soothe his suffering.

Meanwhile the Demon rests and strangely reverts to Jason Blood without any incantation. Jason finds Harry and Randu as they search for him and they return to his apartment where they meet Glenda Mark. The four plan a party, but restless Jason broods alone. He wishes to rid himself of the Demon and uses the cubed object called the Philosopher's Stone to cover him in mystical ice seemingly destroying Merlin's Demon.

Later at the party the Phantom appears and upon seeing Glenda imagines her to be Galatea who she resembles. He kidnaps her despite Jason and Harry and Randu and escapes back into the sewers. Jason is injured and calls upon the Demon to save Glenda but the Demon does not appear.

Glenda now in the hidden lair of the Phantom discovers her resemblance to Galatea but cannot get the Phantom to understand the difference. He plays his organ to calm her but she rips off his mask and discovers his face is horribly disfigured. As the story ends we hear him blame Galatea for his ruined features and threaten vengeance.

This is a strange Demon story, the first of a three-part yarn. Clearly the Phantom is based on Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera and the movie adaptations which are derived from it, but with a few differences which will become apparent in the succeeding chapters.

The relationship between Jason and the Demon has changed too. Jason had seemed one with his demonic alter ego in previous issues, but here seems oddly alienated from him, seeking his destruction. It's a real shift in the focus of the character and echoes similar problems such as the Marvel characters Hulk and Bruce Banner.

More to come.

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