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DEMON, VOLUME 2 (DEMON SERIES, #2) BY JASON SHIGA: BOOK REVIEW

by Andra W, February 15, 2017

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4 star

The Demon: Volume 2

Book 2 of The Demon Quartet

By Jason Shiga

ISBN 978-1-62672-453-2

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott

Synopsis:  Demon

The OSS is after Jimmy, and they’re planning on using his daughter to catch him. But Jimmy will tear the world apart to keep his daughter safe. Literally. This morally bankrupt immortal freak of nature has absolutely no concern for the wellbeing of any human being besides himself and his Sweetpea. It’d be adorable if it weren’t so scary.

From the brilliant and profane mind of Jason Shiga, known for his high-concept comics work on the web and in print, comes a magnum opus: a four-volume mystery adventure about the shocking chaos (and astronomical body count) one highly rational and utterly sociopathic man can create in the world, given a single simple supernatural power.

Review:

“Well that clears up the first volume,” is NOT what you want to be saying come Volume 2. In this highly idiosyncratic, hyper-violent, conspiracy laden graphic novel (much like its predecessor) sequel, we find ourselves saying just that and then from out of nowhere, some of the nitty-gritties start to show, and this time the stakes are higher. As with the previous graphic novel, this is NOT for children – it caters to discerning teens/adults who know what they’re getting themselves into, perhaps If they read Vol. 1. Regardless, despite the over-the-top violence and almost casual intent on racking up a body count, there is the making of a brilliant story, depending on how Volumes 3 and 4 turn out. This time around, there are definite secrets revealed and tangible nuggets of information that the first volume had trouble in pacing out.  

The writing in The Demon: Volume 2 is more sharp-witted, and varied, now that actual human players have entered firmly entrenched on the chessboard. There is no room for expository here, all the energy and emotion and angst from Vol. 1, spills out in open dialogue. Even when the characters are ‘thinking,’ they are doing it out loud – a very surreal effect, I overlooked in the first volume. Some of the dialogue is downright hilarious given the rather gruesome nature of the novel. Humor plays an important role in this volume and helps add levity in the face of sheer atrocity (dark humor at its finest), and there is the occasional profane slur to keep it ‘real.’ The dialogue couldn’t rest on its own without the art, however.

The art is just as minimalist in The Demon: Volume 2 as it was in Vol. 1, and just as quirky as the series itself. It is, once again, Shiga’s strong propelling panelation and sequence of events that catapults this story forwards. Humor carries over from the writing into the art, and gives that quirkiness an almost comforting feel. Ben Yee still looks like himself, as the case permits, and it is very possible to ‘read’ the story from the images alone. Even the (quite) bizarre and grotesque scenes are done simply because they add fun to the story. This is not to say the art is non grotesque in places, but that it does it in the ‘dead chicken with X’s for eyes’  style, and one execution isn’t much different from another. The body count, for the most part, is kept relatively in the background and the seemingly simplistic art drives a much harder punch than the story itself – it IS the story itself.

This type of synergy between art and word is a rare occurrence these days and it’s people like Jason Shiga in The Demon series that remind us of the power of the graphic novel in conveying a story. The art and words complement each other so well and produces a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s this synergy that makes you laugh out loud when you should be utterly revulsed. It was apparently “penciled with a Bic Ballpoint {pen]” and the levity of the writer/artist lends further credence to his work. Incidentally, for those who haven’t read Vol. 1, the anti-hero Ben Yee is a staple of another Shiga production.

All things being equal, I felt that this was a satisfying read. The Demon: Volume 2 brings high octane adventure, conspiracy theory, graphic violence and more to the table (no sex though). The apprehensions I had with the first volume have been overcome and surpassed my expectations. This graphic novel rocks, and I’d highly recommend it to buffs of thrillers, conspiracy theorists, independent comics fans and anyone looking for a fast, exciting ride with mayhem.  Oh and while you’re treating yourself to The Demon: Volume 2, pick up Volume 1 just… well… because.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

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