Review: Devil Executioner One-Shot (Attackosaur Comics)
I’m not a God-fearin’ man, but holy hell, exorcism just gets me freaked. Sure, you can listen to a friend’s story of seeing their grandpa’s ghost when they were younger, but nothing quite challenges the worldview that the supernatural ghost-and-demon stuff doesn’t exist like reading or hearing about ‘real’ life exorcist cases. Devil Executioner is a one-shot horror comic that succeeds rather brilliantly on both the artistic/narrative level of telling a story about an exorcism, and because it’s based on an exorcism account from the Vatican.
Devil Executioner is an indie horror comic written by Martin Ian Smith with art by Nicolás R. Giacondino, and it comes under the creator-owned imprint Attackosaur Comics. I’ll say it upfront: if you have the spare change (you can stay away from a few Big Two comics this week!), head over to the Attackosaur Comics webpage and bag yourself a copy of Devil Executioner.
This is probably one of the best indie comics I’ve read, and sometimes I’m wary reading indie horror, as even small-time-comics-publishers like Action Labs or Amigo Comics put out indie horror comics that are at times so gruesomely weird that they’re off-putting. A combination of exceptional storytelling, strong pacing, and good narrative development alongside Giacondino’s pencils saves Devil Executioner from indie obscurity and makes it a ton of creepy fun.
I won’t spoil too much, but Devil Executioner features a mean-tongued priest who reminds the reader of John Constantine, only much less of a prick, and—for me, at least—a much more likeable character. Father Connor, as he’s called, is chartered by the Vatican to work with a priest who doesn’t believe in Exorcism, and his ‘sidekick’ is a gun-toting babe with little story to her. And if that’s not a good line-up already, within 32 pages Smith packs in several twists, an emotionally-motivating abuse story, and a monstrous demon named Asmodeus (D&D players will know him as the . Oh, and it can’t be neglected that Smith does his research: he uses the accounts of the Vatican’s Chief Exorcist to tell this ‘real life’ story, complete with texts from rituals used by Catholic exorcists.
The effect of Smith’s powerful narrative is made all the more effective by Giacondino’s pencils, which lend a somewhat naïve quality to the character’s faces, that develops with more detail across every panel. The lettering and speech balloon work by Giacondino as they switch from ‘normal’ speak to demon speak is quite impressive, and there are several panels that are simply incredible, take for example the “ticktockticktockticktockkong” as it spreads across frightening and unnerving panels.
While typically I dislike solely black-and-white works, and with few exceptions, Devil Executioner works best without color, making the story all the more eerie and demonically entertaining, though there were several action scenes that were somewhat difficult to visually unpack as a result. Finally, I should credit Jeremy D. Mohler for his colors which bring the cover by Giacondino to life.
Devil Executioner is a fantastic and fascinating one-shot comic from Attackosaur Comics. It’s an impressive indie horror comic that builds itself into an obscure-but-needs-to-be-known piece of graphic narrative art with strong narrative, great writing, and solid artwork. On a personal note, I believe this one-shot would operate as a great first issue in a long run of comics about Father Connor and his demon-excising bunch. This is exactly the type of comic I’d like to be editing in the future; the industry needs more quality comics like Devil Executioner.
Story: Martin Ian Smith Art: Nicolás R. Giacondino
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Attackosaur Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review