I made a vow to pick up Torajiro Kishi’s DEVIL (and probably review it as well) the very day Dark Horse Comics gave us a sneak peak on their community Facebook page.
There, on that first page stood a well-dressed man with a machine gun in one and hand while the other causally took a drag off of his cigarette, and he was here to hunt “vampires”.
As the we have all been sure to notice, a twisted breed of faux-vampire consumption has begun creeping its way across this land. A fanged epidemic of lust masquerading as violence that has spread its weedy tendrils into every field where it feels that it can find fertile ground, choking out its darker natives while it itself goes on to rise higher and higher into that sparkling sun.
Vampires, are not sex symbols. They are vicious killers to whom lust is a weapon, a manipulative tool that in the right set of gnarled hands even they are not entirely immune too. Sure, they have their symbolization of humanity, and some through their massive good deeds might even atone for their lack of it given enough time and enough warm hearts to guide them, but they are not sexy. They are not here for your bedroom satisfaction. They are here to kill, and to do it well.
In short, proper vampiric sex-appeal is not unlike that of an automatic weapon. True, it is just as captivating as it is deadly, but surely nothing you want left in the hands of a teenage girl.
Unless of course, said teenage girl just happens to be “Team Slayer”.
Dark Horse Comics has under them a great deal of fantastic vampire titles already and as such I had no fear when picking up DEVIL. Dark Horse is also quite renowned for their work within the Manga industry which brings us full circle to the amazing impressiveness that is DEVIL.
DEVIL is a self-proclaimed “exciting new experiment” in the art of banding together the Japanese Manga of Torajiro Kishi and our “Western-style” of publishing. No easy feat as there are many differences between Japanese Manga and Western Comic Books. For example, in Manga one reads right to left as opposed to left to right and as such the panels and text must reflect this.
There are also several differences in to the layout of panels and overall sequential tone that make Manga incredibly different from comic books, but this proved to be no problem for Dark Horse.
No, DEVIL’s pages read exactly like a perfect Western Comic Book. Yes, frame by frame and page by page, with only the pieces of flawless Manga Art carefully boxed in their Western panels telling us that this is the perfect work of Torajiro Kishi. Truly a unique reading experience for any one who partakes in both Manga and Comic Books on a regular basis.
The plot of Torajiro Kishi’s brilliant piece is quite unique all on its own. In the world of DEVIL a vampiric virus is tearing its way across our world, turning everyone struck down with it into a vicious breed of super humans classified as “Devils”. In this world most die off in time however, a new strain has begun wreaking havoc, and much more powerful havoc than before.
Worse, this newest “Devil” behind it has a plan, a plan that involves a beautiful and dangerous lab creation known only as Mariko. As clever as she is deadly, Mariko has a plan of her own, but only time can tell just what that plan truly is.
This of course leads us back to the man with the gun, Investor Takimoto, of the Special Investigations Unit known as DEVIL.
Like with all great vampire tales humanity, or rather what it means to be human, is a major focus of the tale. Takimoto is clearly a killer, you can tell right away that he has seen too much, and this weary ruggedness is something that Torajiro Kishi translates across beautifully in both his art and his writing.
However, Takimoto’s beautiful partner Detective Migiwa is of a different cut of cloth. To Migiwa there is still humanity in these dejected creatures, and that is all she needs to find them worth trying to save.
Of course the world is a dark place, their world even moreso, and once this new creature begins to run rampant with his grand and violent delusions of almost godlike grandeur, can these two humans still retain their last claims to their own humanity in such a dark and forsaken world? The sort of darkened world where it would seem that the brightest light comes from the art of Mariko herself?
Find out in Torajiro Kishi’s DEVIL!
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
After all, Dark Horse Comics has always had such great taste. – N