There’s nothing quite like Peach Momoko’s Demon Days in the superhero genre right now. Launched back in March with an interesting twist on familiar characters like Psylocke, Venom, and Jubilee, the latest issue titled “Cursed Web” is out this week. Melding mutants with creatures of legend, Momoko continues Mariko Yashida’s journey to find out more about her origins and who killed her mother.
This is a spoiler-free review save for what appears in the preview, but spoiling isn’t necessary when you consider the artistry on display here. Momoko continues to impress with beautiful watercolor work, interesting layouts that tell a story in themselves, and scenes that inform by what they don’t show. There are many pages in this issue that are five or even four panels per page and yet so much action is conveyed in simple movements. One gains insight into how quickly a character might move by how Momoko strings along with a few somewhat simple panels. There’s a deftness here in the art that is quite impressive.
At its core, Demon Days: Cursed Web is a reluctant hero story about a girl with few tools and no idea of her potential. There are powerful characters she must confront — and surely the main villain understands the threat she poses — but she overcomes them because of her steadfast determination. This is a hero’s journey where the hero will likely realize they are a hero, but only by the end of the story.
X-Men fans will be delighted to see Sabretooth and Mystique in the story. Similar to the limited panel work helping string along with the action in the reader’s imagination, there are fewer details than a normal comic about these characters, but this aids in creating a mythical mystery unfolding for the reader. There’s also some cool samurai energy in this issue to look out for later in the issue.
One could call this a fight-comic, and blood is very much spilled. If you enjoy fight choreography, especially with unconventional weapons, you’ll enjoy this issue. The heavier focus on action in this issue does make for less plot development, which makes the overall feel of the book even more dreamlike and vague. Some might find that frustrating since it’s hard to gather what is going on here on a deeper level, but also from the perspective of the larger story.
Letters by Ariana Maher are very good, especially the sound effects. Little sounds like an “ssss” or a “thwip” are used here or there to help add layers to the action. Maher also uses smaller fonts at key moments to convey the loudness of the words being said, or subtle effects on word balloons like a slight waviness to convey the last words of a dying character.
The English adaptation and dialogue by Zack Davisson is also good, with key turns of phrase at certain moments that convey complex ideas rather smoothly.
Demon Days continues to be an interesting example of how an artist can bring new perspectives in storytelling to the comics art form. In that way, Demon Days: Cursed Web isn’t just a comic book, but an experience.
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