DC Comics has spent much of 2017 celebrating the life of legendary creator Jack Kirby, and one of Kirby’s cooler creations has been revived for a new six-issue miniseries. The Demon: Hell Is Earth, brings Etrigan the Demon back to the forefront, and with him, his human host Jason Blood.
The relationship between man and monster has been a strained one over the years, and in the first issue of this series from Andrew Constant and Brad Walker, we see that nothing has changed. The issue starts with Blood waking from a nightmare, one where it appears Etrigan is burning a young girl alive. Blood and Etrigan “chat” about their relationship, and Etrigan reminds Blood that old nightmares are never far away.
Shortly thereafter, Madame Xanadu arrives on motorbike to track Etrigan down, and is immediately set upon by a trio of diner patrons who are looking for more than apple pie for dessert. Xanadu subdues one with her helmet and turns the three men into livestock after the first man called her a cow.
Blood meanwhile is sitting outside his ramshackle home in Death Valley, seeking solace from Etrigan’s incessant nattering at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Without warning, a missile from a nearby test range lands, sending a hellish mushroom cloud high into the sky. Knowing his only chance of surviving the nuclear fallout is to bring forth Etrigan, Blood utters the classic phrase “Gone, gone o’ form of man! Arise the Demon Etrigan!”
We see the girl from the opening page again, in a car with her family. The blast changed them all to horrific, hellish creatures bent on her destruction. Etrigan arrives to save her, and once she’s safe, he sets out to bring life to the nightmare at the book’s beginning.
Before he can do the child harm, Etrigan is distracted by Jason Blood. Wait, what? Etrigan tries to punch his host into oblivion but it seems Blood is now haunting Etrigan the way Etrigan once haunted him. It’s a game-changing hook that makes me want the next issue in my hands now.
There was a lot going on in this issue, and it could have benefited from a higher page count. That’s the only gripe I had with the book. As a life-long Etrigan fan, it was a treat to see him back, especially with Madame Xanadu in tow. Walker’s pencils on both were perfect, especially on our titular hero. Extra kudos to Walker for giving Etrigan square fingers in the classic Kirby style.
The Demon: Hell is Earth is available now.