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Review: Lady Demon TPB

LadyDemonTP-Cov-112pgQualibreLady Demon, the archduchess of Hell, is on the run! Hunted by Lucifer’s war parties after a failed assassination plot, her only chance is to escape to Earth inside a living vessel. Selecting a recently murdered young woman named Violet Sparks, she takes flight from Perdition as a stowaway, only able to exert control of her host’s body in times of extreme duress. But little could she suspect that Violet is the center of a dark conspiracy… an innocent wrongly condemned to Hell for the sins of her bloodline. Together, Lady Demon and Violet unravel the mystery of the woman’s parentage while cutting a bloody, fiery swath through the Deep South!

Lady Demon is definitely a thrilling, and entertaining concept.  While the first few pages are a little slow, pace wise. The pace easily starts to quicken as the story unfolds, keeping the quick pace throughout as the various backstories are explained. Despite the various backstories that go on throughout the story, they all manage to interconnect and intertwine superbly well.

Compared to the rest of the collected issues, the first few panels have this “summer day,” vibe to them.  As Violent wakes up, that feeling fades as death, and violence seem to encircle her.  Of course for the most part the diverse, and odd well presented, making sure the macabre and feelings of the characters come across throughout. The more action filled scenes have a well done sense of fluidity to them, as they read.

Story: Aaron Gillespie Art: Mirka Andolfo, Juanan Ramirez
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Lady Demon TP

Lady Demon TP

writer: Aaron Gillespie
artist: Mirka Andolfo, Juanan Ramirez
cover: Mike Mayhew
FC • 112 pages • $14.99 • Teen+

Lady Demon, the archduchess of Hell, is on the run! Hunted by Lucifer’s war parties after a failed assassination plot, her only chance is to escape to Earth inside a living vessel. Selecting a recently murdered young woman named Violet Sparks, she takes flight from Perdition as a stowaway, only able to exert control of her host’s body in times of extreme duress. But little could she suspect that Violet is the center of a dark conspiracy… an innocent wrongly condemned to Hell for the sins of her bloodline. Together, Lady Demon and Violet unravel the mystery of the woman’s parentage while cutting a bloody, fiery swath through the Deep South!

LadyDemonTP-Cov-112pgQualibre

Preview: Lady Demon #4

Lady Demon #4

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Juanan Ramierez (a)
Joyce Chin, Cedric Poulat (bombshell) (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Joyce Chin B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Cedric Poulat “Virgin” Art retailer incentive cover
Mike Mayhew “Artboard” retailer incentive cover

The Chaotic Climax is upon us! Lady Demon rushes to stop the Scarboil clan before they can unleash Genocide on Earth. She has her work cut out for her as their Chaos power trumps her Hellfire. And what will happen when Violet has the opportunity to be rid of the invading demoness forever?

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Review: Lady Demon #4

LadyDemon04-Cov-A-ChinIt is perhaps still a little unclear about what Dynamite aims to accomplish with its Chaos imprint.  There was some interest initially around these titles, but as they were rolled out it became evident that perhaps there was little different about them that wasn’t already on the market.  After all by resurrecting the likes of Vampirella, Dynamite already had a supernatural bad girl on its hands, and it wasn’t even that successful at maintaining interest in her.  If there is to be any future for the imprint though, it will rest in series that can produce similar quality as this series.  Although this series is no great standard bearer in terms of its exceptional quality, it was a fun read throughout, which was brought to a close in the entertaining final issue.

A lot of this series relied on the simplistic setting of rural Arkansas as opposed to other series which have focused on political bickering within the realms of Hell.  This added human element is where this series succeeded, even if the series was fairly heavy on action throughout.  This final issue is no different, as while there are some slower moments between mother and daughter and between Lady Demon and Violet, it mostly focuses on the battle between those calling upon an ancient destroyer versus those few who are trying to stop it.

It is the strength of character that is built into Violet which allows this series to succeed, and this final issue is indicative of the series throughout.  There are some fun action sequences, perhaps none of which is particularly memorable, but equally this series had more than a few redeeming factors.  It is a better mix of the supernatural into daily life than what many are able to achieve, partially because they kept it simple and focused on basics.

Story: Aaron Gillespie Art: Juanan Ramirez
Story: 8.2  Art: 8.2  Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite provide Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Preview: Lady Demon #3

Lady Demon #3

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Mirka Andolfo (a)
Joyce Chin, Cedric Poulat (bombshell) (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Joyce Chin B/W Art retailer incentive cover
Cedric Poulat “Virgin” Art retailer incentive cover
Mike Mayhew “Artboard” retailer incentive cover

As she delves deeper into the conspiracy that left her loved ones dead, Violet has her work cut out for her figuring the good guys out from the bad. She’ll get no help from Lady Demon, who has her own ideas on how to resolve their current crisis. As the two battle for supremacy, Violet makes a shocking discovery that might give Lady Demon the upper hand once and for all.

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Review: Lady Demon #3

LadyDemon03-Cov-A-ChinOf the two Chaos imprint releases so far for Dynamite, Lady Demon was met with the lesser fanfare than Purgatori.  The character was a lesser known one going back to the Bad Girl era of the 1990s, but as Purgatori stumbled into its release, Lady Demon has provided a tight story throughout.  There are a couple of reasons for that, but they mostly come down to one commonality, a more focused story line.  Thus while Purgatori was all over Earth and into Hell to tell her story, Lady Demon has focused instead on the role of Violet in her small town and the satanic cult which has been present but unseen for some time.

This third issue of four develops some of the back story, made easier by the appearance of her mother at the end of the previous issue.  It turns this issue into a half and half mix of Violet’s background story combined with an assault on the cult by her and her mother.  As her back story is revealed, it becomes evident that Violet has been a part of this plot for longer than she could have known and that the people in her life were not as they seemed.

It is a simple story in a sense, but the simplicity is what makes this work.  Violet is an approachable character, easy to sympathize with but also written to be tough and able to direct her own fate, and her surrounding characters do not demand attention from her.  Even compared to her alter ego of Lady Demon, Violet mostly steals the show here.  It is still not a great comic, and the lack of quality of the Bad Girl era is still here, but it is nice to see in the Chaos reboot that a strong solid story can be told with a strong character as the lead.

Story: Aaron Gillespie Art: Mirka Andolfo
Story: 8.2  Art: 8.2  Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite provide Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

 

Preview: Lady Demon #2

Lady Demon #2

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Mirka Andolfo (a)
Joyce Chin, Cedric Poulat “bombshell”, Mike Mayhew (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Joyce Chin B&W Art retailer incentive cover
Cedric Poulat “Virgin” Art retailer incentive cover
Mike Mayhew “Artboard” retailer incentive cover

Too many questions and not enough answers. That’s the situation Violet Sparks finds herself in. Everyone she ever cared for is dead and to make matters worse she’s inhabited by a vicious demon that desperately wants to take control.  That may not be such an unwelcome proposition when the bullets start flying and the death toll mounts.

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Review: Lady Demon #2

LadyDemon02-Cov-A-ChinWith only one series ahead of it in the Chaos imprint at Dynamite, the precedent was set for Lady Demon to be a bit of a misfire, that is if Purgatori was to be any indication.  Instead of falling into a completely formulaic pattern, the first issue of Lady Demon proved that there was a bit more ground to cover in the supernatural bad girl club.  Instead of focusing on female characters that are inherently dark, instead it focused on country girl Violet, and unwitting pawn in a supernatural battle which she was drawn into only by circumstance.  The first issue dealt with the unexpected condition which she was left in, after being murdered for apparently no reason, she came back to life, only with someone else attached to her, the titular demon, looking for a mortal vessel to use for her own purposes, now a mixture of light and dark.

The second issue doesn’t lose any of the momentum of the first issue and instead expands upon it.  While the murderers in the first issue were set up potentially as throwaway characters, here there is shown to be more depth to to the conspiracy which took the lives of Violet, her boyfriend and her father.  This ties back into the unseen supernatural aspect of the story, as her foes are shown to be somewhat normal looking people, only that they have a darker connection to the occult.  As they come looking for her, they discover that there is a lot more to her than what they bargained for.

The “two into one” concept for a character is one which is not often shown in comics.  As opposed to a true Jekyll and Hyde persona where the two are still the same person (like the Hulk) the character here is one of competing influences of temptation versus innocence, and it makes Violet more compelling than the average supernatural hero.  The first issue was a novel re-introduction for the character, but the second issue managed to build on that and expand the overall narrative in an interesting way.  If Lady Demon is to be the level of quality for the Chaos imprint, then maybe Dynamite made the right decision to pursue these characters after all.

Story: Aaron Gillespie Art: Mirka Andolfo
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

 

The Supernatural Lesbian Kiss Power Grab

kissThe reign of bad girls in comics never really happened, even if comics have always been a little bit rooted in the concept of the bad girl.  One can argue that comics have some of their origins in the seedy “Tijuana Bibles” from the period before comics became an accepted mainstream medium.  At the very least though, there are the foundations for the bad girl idea in comics which goes back as far as at least Vampirella in the 1960s.  This was seen as a niche interest by many for a long time, an outsider in a medium dominated by superpowered individuals, but the niche did finally almost make it to mainstream in the 1990s with the rise of bad girl art in comics and bad girl characters.  This era saw the introduction of a number of characters that rose to fame though mostly also as quickly disappeared into the background.

With the rise of the independents in recent years, some of them came to specialize in material that was in the public domain or whose rights could be easily obtained.  Dynamite in particular could be noted for its recycling and retooling of material from other times and places, and it is in this way that through various avenues that it acquired Vampirella and a handful of other bad girls characters from the 1990s including Purgatori and Lady Demon.  While the characters are rooted in the supernatural, being either part-demon or part-vampire, or a combination of both, they are nonetheless presented as heroines, or at the very least anti-heroes.

supkissThis background provides them with at least something else as well, if not necessarily by the stories that born them then at least by association, and that is an overtly sexual nature.  Of course to be considered bad girl art, the characters would have to be inherently sexualized in one way or another, which mostly revolves around them wearing not a lot of clothes.  One of the same representations of female sexuality, especially in the era of “Girls Gone Wild” is a representation of women in same-sex relationships, specifically instantaneous manifestation thereof.  Thus for characters that is inherently sexual it might not be surprising that of the three Dynamite bad girls in question, that two of them in the past year have had the immediate impulse to lock lips with other female characters.

The depiction of homosexuals in culture is one which has been an evolving trend towards respectability, where even normal behaviour becomes stereotypical in one way or another, but the depiction of these bad girls in the midst of “Girls Gone Wild” moments is even weirder and worse.  The problem with the depiction is that it goes a long way past just run-of-the-mill gratuity, and goes some place else.  In both cases the characters (Vampirella and Purgatori) were not kissing out of passion but rather to draw power from characters that were their foes, as short lived as they were on panel.  There is no real precedent showing that vampires or the demonic have to suck powers out of people in such a way, and furthermore, I have never seen or heard of such a transfer of power between two male characters.  It thus superimposes the image of a lesbian encounter on another action where there is in fact no need.  No worth was given to either the character or the story and the image is one which is out of place by a sizable margin.

The role of these bad girls in the modern medium seems to be one that is somewhat out of place and still not entirely on solid ground.  While there have been moments of pure exploitation in the titles, there have also been times when the characters have been portrayed at least as well as any other female character in comics.  If the bad girls are going to have a chance at sticking around though, it might be time that they give up on gratuitous thrills and stick to solid character development and storytelling.

Preview: Lady Demon #1

Lady Demon #1

Aaron Gillespie (w)
Mirka Andolfo (a)
Joyce Chin, Mirka Andolfo, Allison Sohn, Cat Staggs, Cedric Poulat, Mike Mayhew (c)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+
FANS, ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR THE:
Joyce Chin B&W Art retailer incentive cover
Mirka Andolfo B&W Art retailer incentive cover
Allison Sohn B&W Art retailer incentive cover
Cat Staggs “Virgin Art” retailer incentive cover
Mike Mayhew “Artboard” retailer incentive cover

On the run from Lucifer’s hit squad, Lady Demon rides a newly arrived soul back to earth. Little does she know, the soul is attached to a woman in the middle of a dark conspiracy. That suits Lady Demon just fine because it means she gets to kill a whole lot of people.

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