Demon: Volume 4 by Jason Shiga
So we come to it at last: the fourth and final instalment in Jason Shiga‘s Demon, detailing the misadventures (and catastrophic body-count) of Jimmy Yee, a one-time accountant who discovers he possesses the body of the person standing closest to him whenever he commits suicide.
As befits a final volume, Demon: Volume 4 is absolute, wall-to-wall insanity. There’s death, war, guns, massacres, catapults, baseball bats, kamakaze stunts — in fact, there’s probably something intensely violent happening on practically every page.
Having possessed the body of a foetus at the end of the last book, Jimmy has finally busted out of the womb, ready to find his daughter Sweetpea and prevent his arch-nemesis Hunter from unleashing hundreds more demons on the world, each one ready to commit suicide (and thereby possess) world leaders.
But how to reach his daughter? She’s held in an impenetrable citadel that prevents any infiltration from demonic possession thanks to the death-row prisoners chained to the wall, the one-legged marines ordered to beat up anyone who trips over, and the crowd of Siamese twins. (Told you things got crazy).
But Jimmy Yee is a problem-solving genius. If anyone can find a way, it’s him.
So is Demon: Volume 4 a satisfying conclusion to the saga? For the most part. It once again grapples with questions of immortality, nihilism, identity, life and death — not to any deeply philosophical extent, but certainly enough to make you wonder: “What would I do in this situation?”
Jimmy remains an entertaining anti-hero despite his complete moral corruption, and the fact that Hunter’s plan is actually in the pursuit of world peace makes you wonder just whose side you’re meant to be on.
But for every question that’s answered (like why Jimmy sees a ring every time he commits suicide) another remains unresolved (unless I missed it, we don’t ever find out why Jimmy’s victims look decapitated) and Demon: Volume 4 ends on a deeply ambiguous note — but also one that’s oddly hopeful.