Published on July 25th, 2014 | by Steven Roman
Review: The Devilers #1
In 2014, a crack commando unit of Vatican Spiritualists was wiped out by an invading force of demons from Hell. These men and women were promptly replaced by alternates led by a priest who thinks the occult is just a load of bullshit. Today, still employed by the Catholic Church, they survive as soldiers of faith. If you have a supernatural problem…if no one else can help…and if you can find them…maybe you can summon…The Devilers.
You may laugh, but my A-Team–inspired introduction isn’t too far off the mark from being a spot-on description of the setup for Dynamite Entertainment’s latest release, The Devilers #1, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire, The Bunker) and illustrated by Matt Triano (Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon, The Long Ranger Annual 2013). When a gateway to Hell opens under the Vatican and an army of demons surges through to Earth, it falls to a team of specialists working for the Catholic Church to stop the invasion. Leading the team is Father Malcolm O’Rourke, an Irish priest who in his younger years once encountered a demon—but though he might believe in demons, he insists that the supernatural in general is nonsense.
There are a few borderline clichéd characters to be found in the team: the hard-drinking, cynical priest who’s lost faith—but will no doubt find some of it now that he’s confronted by the reality of Hell; the Japanese schoolgirl (complete with uniform) with psychic powers; an Israeli ass-kicker who’s not only a rabbi but a former Mossad agent. Yet Fialkov makes O’Rourke interesting enough that I want to see if he can move past his initial John Constantine, too-cool-to-be-freaked-out-by-horror attitude. As for the rest of the team, it’s too early to tell, since they arrive late in the issue and do little more than introduce themselves before facing the threat posed in the cliffhanger ending.
(Hey, wait a minute. The Devilers work for the Vatican. Dynamite’s #1 vampire lady, Vampirella, just got fired from her Vatican job. Do I smell a potential crossover special?!)
As for the art, Triano’s deep shadows and dramatic lighting techniques, even some of the “camera angles,” immediately made me think of the work of the late Gene Colan, artist of (among many titles) Tomb of Dracula, Night Force, Daredevil, and Howard the Duck. In fact, there’s such a Night Force feel to this issue, at first glance you’d almost think Colan drew it—from beeeyooond the graaaave. Kudos to Triano for fantastic work that evokes the style of one of comics’ masters without being derivative.
Bottom line? Great art plus interesting premise equal you at least checking out the first issue. By the time The Devilers reaches its seventh and final issue, you may even love it when this plan comes together…but you may never get the A-Team theme out of your head.
The Devilers #1
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Matt Triano
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
32 pages • full-color
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