Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Devil #1 - Guest Review by Simon Breeze

A vampire virus rages through Japan and only one man stands in its way - welcome to the world of Devil!

I am now about to cheat in writing this review as I can't sum up the story any better than the inside page of issue one of this action horror, so here is the blurb from the issue itself:

A virus is raging across the planet, turning people into bloodsucking super-humans referred to as "Devils." Most victims die within days, sometimes months, but there's a new strain, a new class of devil that threatens to overtake mankind with power and blood-thirst. This new class of Devils derives from an experiment to clone a virus victim, and it looks like science has created a true monster this time. Can Takimoto and the Devil Investigation Section of Tokyo police force stop this societal scourge?

This is a really great story that is well illustrated too, reading this comic was like watching an anime in high definition in my head!

The main characters, Takimoto and Migiwa are quite 'generic' for the manga genre, however this is a good thing, right away you know who these two characters are and where they are coming from with almost no introduction other than the first few panels in which they appear. The stroke of genius comes in with the Devils, they are very manga, yet very different too, the contrast of this against the two main human characters works really well; predictability vs mysterious, this means your never in your comfort zone, despite feeling like you should be and your not to sure what you will encounter on the next page when you turn it, brilliant stuff.

The story is very fast paced and action packed with short pauses for breath to let the previous panels sink in, this gives the story a chance to build nicely amongst all of the roof top running, car chasing, mad shooting and fisty-cuffs that takes place. If I was asked to sum this story up in one sentence, it would be this, '28 days later with Vampires instead of Zombies.' The story is fast, gritty and real and also elevates the vampire from the over diluted puddle of the genre they have become into something new, very much as the aforementioned 28 days Later did with zombies.

Having praised the comic so highly I am now going to throw in a negative or two (however one in my head it is a positive), if you have recently purchased a copy of the Twilight manga and are looking for one to follow it up, I'm sorry (no, I really am) this is not one for you. Within these pages you will find no pale faced and just wanting to be loved because I'm just misunderstood and twinkle in the sunlight two-hundred year old pretty school boys (shame). Instead you will find nail biting, head spinning edge of the seat action that adds a fantastic new spin on the vampire genre. The other disappointment with Devil is this, after reading only one issue I am saddened as there is only a four issue run! Four! Dam you Dark Horse! (You have to picture me shaking my fist in the air in rage and going, 'Grrrrrrr! As you read this bit). Even after reading one issue I would love to see this story taken further, much further than only four issues can take us.

I give Devil a solid 4 out of 5, why not 5? Mostly because of the short four issue run, the other reason is speech bubbling and captions, it is an annoyance with a westernised manga, the bubbles and caption boxes are always way to big for the text they contain, this I sometimes feel a little jarring upon reading. This is a personal and small thing, I do understand why it is this way, however this combine with the limited run smudges it down just enough to take it to a really high 4, if there is such a thing?

Story and Art by Torajiro Kishi and Madhouse Studios
Published by Dark Horse Comics

More on Devil at Dark Horse Comics.

As always, my sincere thanks to Simon for another great contribution. Remember, you can find Simon's work on his
deviantArt site as well as his work and family blog.

If, like Simon, you'd be interested in submitting a occasional piece for publication - a review, article, or news - then drop me an
email, I'd be happy to hear from you.