Saturday, October 18, 2014

Demonology #9 - Farley Fairfax!

The ninth issue of Jack Kirby's The Demon opens with the Demon having been "destroyed" by Jason Blood.

This results in the opening adventure being a flashback to centuries before in Medieval times when the Demon confronted a sorcerer and his creatures to save a village. The Demon drives away the monsters and sweeps the sorcerer into the sky, and then changes into a man who resembles Jason Blood.

Then we return to the modern day where Jason, still injured from the Phantom of the Sewers' attack in the previous issue struggles to go and find Glenda but is held back by Harry Mathews and Randu Singh. He tells them the Philosopher's Stone and demonstrates its power which as seemingly destroyed the Demon. Then news reports are shown which follow the police as the pursue the Phantom to no effect.

The story then shifts to the secret lair of the Phantom himself as he reveals his true name is Farley Fairfax, a great actor once upon a time and he confronts Glenda Mark who  he falsely believes to be a woman named Galatea, a woman he blames for his disfigured face. He bundles Glenda up and runs through the sewers, evading the police and emerges onto an old dilapidated stage.

Meanwhile Jason hunts for the Phantom in the sewers but falls into a well and while grappling to escape unleashes an deadly electrical charge which does not kill him as it probably should've done. He realizes the Demon might not be gone and seeks to use the Philospher's Stone to bring him back. This works partially but before the transformation is complete, the semi-Demon collapses.

Back on the old stage the Phantom uncovers his hideous face and reassembles some old firepots on the stage to recreate the spell Galatea once used to disfigure him and steal his soul to force her to return it. As this is almost done the Demon emerges onto the stage confronts the Phantom who still menaces Glenda.

This installment moves the story along nicely, but Jason seems really not fully understand the magic of the Philosopher's Stone casting doubt on his original scheme. The alienation between Jason and the Demon seems a bit forced, an internal conflict which I suppose is meant to make the Demon more menacing. I'm not sure it's as effective as Kirby might've liked.

The parallel to the classic Phantom of the Opera is still quite clear despite the variations in motivation. Clearly Farley loves Galatea despite loathing what she has done to him.

More to come.

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