Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review- Blood of the Demon Nos. 1-17

Blood of the Demon Nos. 1-17 (DC, cover dates May, 2005- September, 2006)

Plotter and Penciler: John Byrne

Writer: Will Pfeifer

Inkers: Nekros (1-7), Dan Green (8-12, 14-17), and Doug Hazelwood (13).

This title is a prime example of why DC's collected editions department is still in the stone age. Marvel would have issued a couple of trade paperbacks as the series was ongoing and maybe an Omnibus. I would have likely bought this material twice. Instead, I got these as dirt cheap/free back issues with frequent buyer comic shop credit, with DC and John Byrne getting no royalties off of this. DC seems to have rectified errors like this nowadays, but Marvel has put 98% of it's comics in collected editions for the past decade. They have spoiled us, and we love them for it.

You know what the real shame of all of this is? These are some decent comic books that now only exist as back issues in bags and boards, hoarded away by collectors. No trade paperback or hardcover to remain in print for a number of years to gain new fans. They were published, released for a month, then *poof!*, they're gone, lost to the ages. Byrne turns the character back to it's Jack Kirby roots. No rhyming, no super technical demonology, just over the top macabre superhero fun. 

I was really enjoying this until issue 13, which had the “1 year later” blurb. I guess that this all ties into Infinite Crisis and 52 mini-series and crossovers, but I am not buying all of that crap just to figure out what I missed. Byrne sort of recaps it a little later, but issue 13 feels disjointed to me. Guess I had to be there at the time. I am curious if the items that Byrne recapped actually occurred on page during those series, and if so, in which issues.

The Demon's main nemeses are Morgan Le Fay and “Joshua”, a Christ-like fellow who is not at all what he seems. I won't spoil it for you, but there are some pretty cool things that happen in those issues. My main gripe is Byrne's everything is not what it seems, time stream slips, and back and forth versions of the same character. It gets tiring after a while. This seems like a warm up for his current Next Men series over at IDW, with things being turned on their head, only to be turned on their head again, and then finally placed back to their beginning position. Byrne resets everything to the original status quo by the end of the series. 

I did enjoy reading this in spite of those frustrations and repetition. Byrne's artwork seems to vary a bit throughout the series but is generally solid. I remain a fan of his work after all of these years. This series deserves to be rescued from back issue bins and re-released to the world at large again. I hope that DC sees the error of their ways and issues a nice, big hardcover of this run. I know that I'd buy it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- DC used paper which did not make the most out of the computer coloring, looking little better than newsprint. I love newsprint for old four color comics, but computer coloring demands a more vibrant coated stock. DC switched to the better paper with issue 15, but the cover price went from $2.50 to $2.99. Since I don't buy singles too often, this seems like a huge price jump. A 20 percent increase seems crazy. Whatever happened to .05 or .10 cover price bumps? Back when I was a kid...
Paper rating: 1-14: 3 out of 5; 15-17: 5 out of 5.

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