By Dustin Cabeal
While the story of Demon has been an enjoyable one, as it went on there were less and less moments of humor. After the second volume, you can easily become numb to the violence and the gags, but the overall story is mapped so brilliantly that it's worth staying until the end. That and at its core there is a message to this story, and it’s quite unexpected.
The incredible thing that Jason Shiga does with each volume of Demon is written the characters into a complex hole only to find an even more complex way out of the hole. Nowhere is that more evident than with the Osaka castle which is designed to keep demons in and out. It seemed brilliant until Shiga wrote a way around it.
This volume spends a little time developing the characters as they prepare for the final battle against Hunter. By now you’ll have a decent idea of how the story goes and even the way that Jimmy and Sweetpea overcome the castle feels logical when you enter the mind space of Demon, which is weird, but that’s Shiga’s talent as a writer. The complex plot parts become more and more logical as you read. Until you think, “well, of course, that would happen, how else could it go.” The catch is, you’ve been led to that conclusion by the writing. At no point did you come up with that on your own, but instead Shiga brought you along on an incredible journey and built you up to expect what he was doing.
There’s some incredible writing on this series. Their character development isn’t the focus, and frankly, it was a nice change of pace not to be so character driven. If anything, these two characters are horrible people. Even what they’re fighting against, isn’t that horrible. Hunter wants to create a utopia, but Jimmy just hates him, so he’s going to stop him. It’s nuts. The one thing I didn’t like was the sudden inclusion of modern technology, especially when it felt like we were far into the future. The iPhone joke was the only part that stood out negatively and could easily have been changed to fit the rest of the story better.
The artwork continues to tow the line between complex and cartoonish, and I mean that in a positive way. Shiga’s style is clean, detailed and yet feels like classic newspaper comics. Not like Garfield, but actual classic strips in which the artist would pour an insane amount of detail into them, even if it wasn’t picked up in the printing process. That and there’s something to be said for the number of dead bodies that Shiga’s illustrated. I don’t even think those “So and so kills the Marvel Universe” books have illustrated as many dead bodies. I’ll leave it to someone else to count though.
Demon has been a unique experience. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it, and I doubt there will be anything like it again. This final volume is a solid way to end the series, and while it didn’t dwell on the human condition, it did end on a positive message and brighter way to look at tomorrow.
Demon vol. 4
First Second Books