In a way, it is fitting that the 100th anniversary of Jack Kirby birth is ended with a limited series launch featuring Etrigan the demon. Even more fitting, DC didn’t put the Kirby 100 label on the cover. The Demon was never a favorite of Kirby’s, who allegedly didn’t like horror stories and resented his editors asking him for a new horror character. The fact that the character was more popular than his Fourth World stories at the time and forced him away from them.
But like so many great characters, Etrigan never let his creator’s resentment keep him down. Andrew Constant and Brad Walker have started an intriguing story dealing with the greatest fears of our times. Jason Blood is hiding in Death Valley as his control over Etrigan is slipping and the demon is fighting to be released. And when a nightmare is shared by Blood, Etrigan, Madame Xanadu and a little girl, you know things won’t go well when the demon get sprung from his cage.
Constant (Torn) doesn’t leave you hanging with that vision for a long time. He works swiftly to pull together all the elements needed to make it come true. This plot is not content to waste time brooding. Constant throws his story right into high gear and keeps speeding through the plot curves. Not only is Etrigan breaking free, but it looks like some other demons are coming to Earth too. That can never mean a good thing.
Interestingly, enough, not only does Etrigan have a few new tricks to surprise Jason. Blood also manages to catch the demon flat-footed with a new change of his own. I’ll be interested to see what other trick Blood has been hiding up his sleeve.
Happily for the reader, Walker (Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy), Andrew Hennessy (X-Men Gold, Nightwing) and Chris Sotomayor (Nightwing, Old Man Logan) make a great art team who are more than up for the challenges that this initial issue offers. I can’t recall when a nuclear blast felt so immediate and real. They deliver great panels in the quiet moments as well as in the action. Etrigan is clearly as menacing as anything he comes up against in this issue.
Like many an unwanted character, Etrigan demands that you pay attention to him as he acts out for the sheer joy of chaos and menace. While he has gone back to speaking in rhymes, they are not the cutesy bits of doggerel he has spat out in the past. Now he only speaks in rhymes when he is happy, as he is when he takes on other demons in battle. Now if only we can find out who brought Hell to Earth…
Writer: Andrew Constant
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Tom Napolitano