Peach Momoko’s Demon Days series comes to an end this week with Demon Days: Blood Feud #1. Launch in March 2021, the series has followed Mariko Yashida and her journey in discovering creatures called yokai and oni are real and her mother was an oni. Along the way, she’s faced off against incredible creatures that meld Marvel characters like Thor and Hulk with mythical Japanese characters. Now, with Mariko facing off against her sister to death, will she survive and be able to find closure in this epic journey?
It has been a minute since the last issue, but don’t worry, there’s a handy summary page to catch you up to speed. The issue then drops you into a confrontation between Mariko and her sister Ogin. On one side we have Mariko with a wolf named Wolverine and Ogin on the other side with a Hulk-looking ogre. Inspirations from anime are present, like the engorged veins on Hulk, or the crushing violence that takes place that may unnerve you.
American comic readers will likely get a kick out of a new kind of Hulk vs. Wolverine battle, but at its core, this is a story about the sisters confronting one another. At a deeper level, Momoko captures the sometimes psychotic rivalry siblings might have. One can imagine Momoko may be telling this story from a personal place because it feels real and endearing. You’ll feel for these characters, even when they’re harming one another.
This scene cuts to flashbacks, which are told via darkly shadowed, painted pages. These juxtapose well with the angelic scene between Mariko and Ogin. The forest is beautiful with interesting white wisps of smoke creating an atmosphere that has weight to it. It’s quite something that Momoko can pull off a sequential story with watercolors like this with multiple pages giving readers details that enrich the story.
Something that might be hard for readers to accept is that this story is very much its own thing. It doesn’t tie into what we know about Marvel or its characters too deeply. They’re here at face value, which can seem like a missed opportunity. That said, it still stands on its own.
Apart from the main story, the comic wraps things up well. It ends in the real world, but there’s a moment of the fantastical that is not to be missed. Seriously, the last three pages offer a magical wonderment that is beautifully rendered and, if we’re lucky, may one day be turned into an anime. It’s impactful, and quite something.
Momoko is once again joined by Zack Davisson for English adaptation and dialogue with Ariana Maher’s lettering. The dialogue and captions are easy to follow. There are multiple cases where Maher’s word balloon tails help add a little extra oomph or emphasis. Sound effects are minimal, but a nice “klang” or “fwissh” helps add to the movement and drama.
This issue also ends with the usual Yokai Files detailing mythological creatures. They’re informative and supply some fascinating backstory.
Demon Days: Blood Feud wraps up an epic years-long journey crafted by Momoko who has quickly carved a name out of comics that we won’t soon forget. This series of one-shot-style tales perfectly melds Japanese culture to the Marvel universe, maintaining its own identity. It’s the kind of comic you put down and whisper to yourself, “this is art.”
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