July 16th, 2014
Release length: 32 pages
On the outside cover (alternate printing artwork pictured above), The Devilers isn’t quite what you expect. The depicted religious symbols that appear with a demonic hand (or that of Satan himself) reaching out does give a hint that it will have to do with various religions, though upon opening the book we are greeted immediately with the Irish priest Father Malcolm O’Rourke discussing how all cases of demonic possession can and have been explained away. Mr. Lieb was told to seek out the priest to help him find his faith. This eventually leads to the tale of the Father’s childhood where he saw a demon first hand, and how it greatly conflicts with most reports. But before this could all wrap up, reports on television of the Vatican falling to the ground changes the topic momentarily, allowing Cardinal David Michael Reed, a member of the Vatican, to interrupt the two and beg for O’Rourke’s help.
The two learn about the fate of the Vatican as the history about why the past thousand years were free of Satan and his demons and are transported to the Vatican to help put a stop to his armies. The reason the Father is required is that his encounter with that creature as a child has given him the ability to see these beings. He is also called “The Demons Head,” which isn’t really explained in this issue. There’s little time to learn about the backgrounds of the others summoned since the predecessors who joined the Cardinal had all fallen, leaving it up to this group to push Satan’s forced back into Hell and close the gate permanently.
While the story is rather typical, this series has a few positive points going for it that can easily work in its favor further down the line. First of all, the tale isn’t exactly told through the perspective of a certain hero. Yes the issue starts with Father O’Rourke and Lieb discussing possessions in a bar, and some of the dialogue does show those two as diving forces throughout the story, but Cardinal Reed himself starts to take center stage after everyone arrives at the Vatican. Even the other members of the force seem to get a stronger push towards the end.
The other element is the character dynamics. Father O’Rourke himself is a cheeky, sarcastic know it all in a way. It’s easy to spend the entire issue reading his lines with the same delivery and enunciation as wrestling’s own Rowdy Roddy Piper (They Live!, Trouble Comes to Frog Town). The interactions between him and Lieb alone are well executed, as are those among the rest of the cast. Right away these exchanges set up a grim tale of epic biblical fashion, but reassures the reader that this isn’t going to be your every day bout of religious propaganda. Instead it carries itself more like an eighties b-movie that covers a good amount of ground in a very short amount of time.
Finally there’s the artwork. The rough hand drawn style perfectly fits every setting within the book. Inside the bar things have a little more light, even life to them from the sharper edges and varied hughes of modern times. It all feels like a normal day for the patrons oblivious to the disarray that is the crumbling world around them. Even in the alley, things appear normal for the big city. However, upon reaching the Vatican, everything reflects the turmoil and nightmarish burning of the building and all around it in flames from the open portal to hell. Aside a heavier focus on the color red, there’s plenty of deep shadows at work. It’s a sudden change that helps the reader grasp what’s going on.
Issue number one of The Devilers is a sweet surprise from Dynamite Entertainment and the four man crew behind it. Joshua Hale Fialkov delivers superb writing that gives just enough background to the characters and the direction of the tale through how they all interact with one another, while Matt Triano weaves together nightmarish visuals that Mark Roberts and Simon Boland bring to life thanks to the appropriate color schemes and levels of shading respectively. If the rest of the issues stay consistent with what is on display here, this seven issue mini-series is going to be one fans of Horror are not going to want to miss.
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10