Demon: Volume 1: A dark and disturbing page-turner

Demon: Volume 1 by Jason Shiga comic reviewsDemon: Volume 1 by Jason ShigaDemon: Volume 1 by Jason Shiga

If you have a strong constitution and fifteen minutes to kill, you could do a lot worse than picking up Demon (2016), Jason Shiga’s graphic novel about a nihilistic suicidal actuary who finds a reason to go on living when he realizes he possesses the body of the person closest to him each time he kills himself.

His wife and daughter having died in a car accident, Jimmy Yee decides to end it all — only to find that his suicide attempts are thwarted each time by powers beyond his control.

The first half of the story involves him grappling to understand the rules of the new forces that govern his life, while the second sees him become the target of an elite military taskforce determined to contain him.

It’s bloody, it’s gory, it crosses the line more than a couple of times, but Jimmy’s increasing lack of morality combined with his specialised calculation skills as an actuary in figuring out the logistics of his situation make for a surprisingly engrossing read.

Like all the best stories, Demon comes up with a high concept premise and then explores it from every possible angle. How do you capture a man who can possess anyone in the vicinity? How do you take into account enclosed areas, vast distances, and endless hiding places? What would you do if you had the ability to possess anyone just by getting close to them and putting a loaded gun to your own head?

It’s a story that grabs you from the first panel and hurries you along at a breakneck speed — not for the easily offended, but definitely quite a ride.

Published in 2016. An Eisner Award winner and LA Times Book Prize finalist! No matter how hard he tries, Jimmy Yee cannot die. A noose around his neck, a razor across his wrist, and even a bullet to his head all yield the same results: he awakes from each suicide attempt, miraculously unharmed, in his shabby room at the Sunbeam Motel. Has he gone mad? Or has he truly died and found himself in hell? Jimmy is willing to tear the world down around him to get at the truth. Highly analytical and utterly unscrupulous, he is uniquely suited to unraveling this bizarre mystery. From the brilliant and profane mind of Jason Shiga, known for his high-concept graphic novels, comes Demon: a four-volume magnum opus about the unspeakable chaos that one indestructible man can unleash on the world—and the astronomical body count he leaves behind. 

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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