Overview

Pilot Season: Demonic #1

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Pilot Season: Demonic #1

Credits

  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Joe Benitez
  • Inks: Victor Llamas
  • Colors: Arif Prianto of IFS
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 26, 2010

Top Cow’s 2010 Pilot Season continues with their second entry by creators Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri.

Robert Kirkman’s first issues are often hit or miss, Invincible and The Walking Dead being the shining examples in his career. The beginnings of those series were gripping, fun and unpredictable. Other works of his didn’t make as much of an impression or desire to move forward with the story. The Astounding Wolf-man and more recently, Haunt, have been okay at best. Not terrible books by any stretch, but teeter the fine line of spectacularly mediocre.

Concurrently, Top Cow’s Pilot Season is just that, a series of first issues, introducing new characters and the best being voted on by readers. The winner conceivably receiving it’s own ongoing or mini. In previous years, these multiple ‘pilots’ are handled by a different set of creators in each book. This year, Mr. Kirkman, with input and character designs by artist Marc Silverstri, is creatively kicking off the whole endeavor. Demonic #1, with interiors by Joe Benitez, falls somewhat short of being a really good Kirkman launch.

Demonic is the story of a family man named Scott, who is visited by a vengeful demon every night. Apparently, Scott owes the demon souls, so he goes out and gets fresh ones and appeases his debt. Dressed in a tattered cloak, mask and claws, Scott dispenses justice and offers up un-pure souls to the monster. We are never privy to what he did or agreed to that got him into this predicament. Come to think about it, we are never given any real parameters on Scott’s power set either. Is he protected, super powered, bitten by a radioactive demon? It’s never clear, explained or even hinted at.  

To be honest, the whole affair comes off as somewhat lazy storytelling. With six titles in the Pilot Season program and the chances of only one of them going to series, one can’t help but think a part of Kirkman might be phoning it in. There is nothing wrong with the execution, art or plot of Demonic, but there is nothing truly compelling either. With last year’s Season, each creative team would shoot for the fences, which lead to fuller and more diverse stories. Maybe Kirkman and company are spreading themselves too thin. Kirkman’s charm as a writer really comes through with the long form, when he has a character moment earned over time. He truly excels in quickly endearing us to a hero and then messing with them incessantly. That charm, which we all know he possesses, is not very evident between these covers.

One of the more shining spots of the issue is easily the demon that controls Scott’s contract. Her design is very Spawn-esque, take it or leave it, but her (I’m assuming it’s a woman) dialogue and presence is truly foreboding. She is ruthless and vile, not charming or deceptive like we see the devil portrayed on occasion. She is straight up evil and it is effective. Besides that, the story is filled with half truths and empty information to which we may never know the answers, making it very hard to commit to this concept.  

The art chores by Benitez service the story effectively.  His work here has a thin line that’s very kinetic, which works in the actions scenes.  Unfortunately it comes off as a bit rushed on static character scenes. Maybe a heavier line would have worked better in these portions. The panel layouts were very evocative of late 1990’s McFarlane, with the skewed image boxes and breaks in the frame. Nothing we haven’t seen in this type of story before.

I think that’s the general problem as a whole. The lack of urgency coupled with the fact that we’ve seen all these elements before. I understand that there are no original stories left to tell, but you inject those common tropes with new energy, intriguing characters or a different angle. This whole concept feels like its creatively treading water. Being a fan of the creators, let’s home their next time up at bat is a clear hit.

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