Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Matt Triano
Published by Dynamite Studios
The Devilers just kind of throws you into the middle of a story. Normally, a first issue sets some context for you to work with, but the story just sort of explodes around you here and you have to piece together what’s going on. The issue has a sort of interesting premise, but everything else that’s going on is pretty uninteresting.
A man named Father Malcolm is reviewing some presumed examples of demonic possession to a skeptic named Mr. Lieb. Mr. Lieb doesn’t buy any of this, including Father Malcom’s own experience with demons. TV footage shows the Vatican in flames. Suddenly a Cardinal named David Michael Reed bursts through the door and tells Michael that “they” have broken through. With some bear-like entity named Rex, they are teleported to the Vatican where they see demons escaping. They meet up with a multifaith group of exorcists: Rabbi Brenda Davide, Samir Patel, Raab al-Fayed, and Chun Bai. They march into the Vatican together and see a Demonic blob monster.
I’ll be honest, this comic feels very confusing to read. I have no clue why Mr. Lieb continues to follow them. It’s one thing to say you’re a skeptic, but speaking as a skeptic, if a bear-spirit backhands me into a wall and then teleports me to Italy, I’m not going to go around yammering about how this is all a scam. Skeptics don’t go around militantly denying the existence of things that are plainly visible, like an eight-foot bear that slaps you in the face. Why does Mr. Lieb even care in the first place? He may have a motivation that drives him to such an extreme length, but we don’t know about it. He’s irritating, and in a way that’s difficult to accept as plausible behavior.
The demonic artwork is all cool, though we don’t really spend that much with them. Also, if they’re so dangerous that they’re taking out Italian soldiers, why do they just flip off the Cardinal and walk away? He’s an exorcist, so he must presumably be some kind of threat. The team itself is sort of interesting, though we have very little context as to who they are apart from a two-sentence blurb for each of them. Also, they’re introductory panel, with each of them posing, looked like something out of Captain Planet. All it was missing was a theme song, one with wailing guitars and an ‘80s power ballad wailing about salvation. The comic even had the multifaith and multiethnic component to make it pass the political correctness test. I’m not going to even get into the theological questions of how all these faiths could be working together on a demonic foe.
This could still go somewhere and be interesting. Plenty of great series have an off first issue, or one that only makes sense in subsequent issues. I’ll give this series another couple issues to start shaping up.