It’s hard not to get enthusiastic about something called Kill 6 Billion Demons. Originally published as a web comic, this collected edition tells the story about a young woman named Allison who really only wanted to get laid. That is, until a demon hoard broke down her wall, kidnapped her boyfriend, shoved a magic key in her head and launched her into an alternate universe—specifically the universe at the center of all other universes.
I’ve never really gotten into web comics before. Mostly because I’ve never been into infinite storytelling—stories without any plans for a definitive end and that can almost go on forever—but also because I’m bad at keeping up with update schedules.
This comic could have so easily been another derivative young adult fantasy about some young person thrown into a strange fantasy world but while those elements are there, the creator, Tom Parkinson-Morgan, has created such a visually distinct and lovingly crafted world that makes this book stand above its competition.
I’m finding it hard to talk about what makes this comic work so well when really all you have to do is look. From downright cool looking character designs for each individual creature in this world, to the lush and heavily detailed, dreamlike landscapes that even Moebius and Orc Stain would admire. From the colors to the line work to the intricate and elaborate lore, there’s something to admire on every page.
This comic is an easy recommendation whether it’s for a physical copy of the artwork or as something to check out as an easily accessible web comic but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
The series starts out strong with Allison and her boyfriend awkwardly fumbling around before they have sex for the first time. The characterization is funny and charming and even this early on shows the makings of a genuinely great lead. Then, following the striking moment of the previously mentioned demon hoard, the book hits a snag.
There’s a length, introductory segment where Allison is dragged through the world of Throne and explained the elaborate basis of this entire world by her stone angel protector. There is so much exposition dumped on the reader’s lap that there’s a good forty pages that feel like genuine filler before the story really gets going. This might be a result of its web comic origins, which seems like a naturally truncated and dense format, but ultimately it’s mostly due to the nature of lore.
For however interesting a universe is, lore is never the story being told. The story here is Allison trying to save her boyfriend but it feels like we’re getting side tracked with too much information over too long of a period. So much so I felt like the story didn’t really pick up until around page fifty. For any other series, that would be a death sentence but there’s such a wealth and density of visually compelling art that I never stopped reading. Sure I scanned through some characters’ dialogue a little faster, but I never stopped turning the page.
When the story picks up, it picks up hard and, reading the first collection volume of this series, you get see the creator get better—more trusting in their visual storytelling, stronger character writing and even better art consistency. Getting over that lore slump, re-energized my enthusiasm for this comic because even if I don’t entire understand what is going on in this world, every page has its own visual charisma still has me cheering and caring.
Allison is a protagonist I like a lot. She’s a weirdo, she’s relatable and whenever she’s the focus of the page, Kill 6 Billion Demons reads like its found its real heart, the emotional core needed at the center of the elaborate setting. The writing around her feels so much more innately human and somehow infinitely more engaging than the world and the weird creatures and I always wanted to see more of her. She’s sidelined for much of this book and it’s even a problem the book notices and corrects halfway through.
There are parts where Kill 6 Billion Demons stumbles and there are parts where it soars. And I think it is something worthwhile for everyone to at least look at. I know that I’m ready to follow Allison as she rescues her goddamn boyfriend and kills whatever horrifically rad monsters get in her way.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Kill 6 Billion Demons, Book 1 Writer & Artist: Tom Parkinson-Morgan Publisher: Image Comics Price: $14.99 Print/ $11.99 Digital Format: TPB; Print/Digital