19th Aug2019

‘The Death-Defying Devil #1’ Review (Dynamite Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Gail Simone | Art by Walter Geovani | Published by Dynamite Entertainment


Did you know that Gail Simone was writing Daredevil? Yep. Sort of. She’s writing THIS Daredevil, not the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen over at the House of Ideas. For those not in the know, this Death-Defying ‘Devil is Dynamite’s interpretation of the original Daredevil who first appeared in Silver Streak #6 way back in 1940, a mere 24 years before Stan Lee ‘borrowed’ the name for his character. Marvel’s Daredevil now has the copyright, so although this original version is public domain, he can’t be called Daredevil. We’ll call him ‘Devil from here on out.

My first introduction to the character was in Dynamite’s Project Superpowers a few years back, and I remember thinking he was one of the coolest looking characters I’d seen. He shouldn’t really work. A two tone costume, metal spiked belt, and razor boomerangs add up to characters I was creating when I was 10. Yet work it does. Dynamite quite smartly realised their ‘Devil needed a hook, and in their continuity it is the costume that is the character. It is sentient, with original wearer Bart Hill having died some time back. A cool idea. Another cool idea is getting Gail Simone on board to write it, always someone with an eye for the quirky, and giving Walter Geovani a chance to draw his first ever superhero book. Looks promising.

We open with the ‘Devil not doing so good. He is all bandaged up, lying on someone’s sofa looking very much the worse for wear. Luckily for him, that someone is nice and is looking after the unconscious hero. Well now I’m intrigued….Let’s spin the clock back 12 hours, and the ‘Devil steps in to stop some local thugs trying to rob a couple of local people on their way home. He’s hardcore by the way, thinks nothing of using those razor boomerangs to slice off an ear. Beat that, Punisher. However, those garden variety thugs soon make way for a mysterious stranger who seems to have some connection to ‘Devil, and an insane dislike for. So he/ she stabs ‘Devil savagely, and tells him to stay away from this place, from helping people or next time he will be dead. Period.

The two people ‘Devil was helping, Yolanda and Roberto, try to call the Police for help, but it seems the local Police are both racist, and in the pocket of a certain Mr. Donovan. Three guesses who the mysterious stranger is also working for…. Roberto takes it on himself to go and help, and ‘Devil is dragged to safety inside the Winslow House. It’s an old run down place but full of eccentric and colourful, but good people, all being hassled by Donovan to get out as he wants the land. Of course he does. They try to get ‘Devil to talk, but he won’t, or can’t, and they can’t get even an ambulance out there, so he’s invited to stay the night, which brings us full circle to where we all came in. Well nearly, because those thugs are back, and they are about to discover that ‘Devil is down but not out, and can most definitely speak. Finally. On the very last page of his book. So there.

A nice scene setting issue overall, as you would expect from Simone. The set up is established, the hero in jeopardy trope activated, the powerful foe (bonus points for being ‘mysterious’) revealed. Although conventional comic book plotting in most respects, Simone still manages to add that little dash of flair, that pinch of characterisation that lifts it above what it could be. As an individual issue it was ok, but as the lead in to a longer story it’s very promising, with a nice balance of small reveals and the promise of many more to come. Geovani’s art was pretty good overall, a little static in places but being new to superhero art to be expected. The layouts and lines are perfectly fine, and I love a nice bit of ‘clean’ art, a look that suits this book fine.

A book with a whole lot of promise. It may not be the ‘Devil you know, but it may soon be the ‘Devil you love.

**** 4/5


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