By Harrison Stewart — The words “By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo” was enough for me to pick up We Have Demons, a Comixology original now in print from Dark Horse. The two creators make a consistently strong pairing, often bringing out the best in one another. The same is true in their latest effort, a sprawling update on the classic angels-vs-demons with decidedly more blood. And cursing! But also just enough heart and self-aware wit to win over the skeptic.
We Have Demons opens with an amusing content warning: not for violence or disturbing images or anything so mundane. No, the narrator warns us this is a story about faith. And the notion is admittedly stomach-turning to anyone who came here for guts and gore. But Snyder has a special knack for directly addressing the elephant in any given room. Concepts like the Batman Who Laughs only work because the writer is willing to acknowledge the absurdity involved. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough, Snyder tends to reward credulity with interesting mechanics, solid character work and a handful of badass moments for the artist to shine.
The plot revolves around Lam, a young woman who discovers she belongs to a line of demon hunters. While that sounds inherently religious, Snyder crafts a unique cosmology to avoid the restraints of any single belief system. The Big Bang produces two opposing mega-elements: Halo and Horn (I’m sure the reader can divine which is good/evil). Both have been present on earth since the beginning of life, with the latter infecting early humans to produce demons. The group Lam falls in with fashions Halo into weapons to fight these monstrosities across the ages. Nothing works better to destroy Demonfolk, but the tools require faith in a higher power. And there is little left in the world today.
For the most part, Snyder’s sincerity and generally affable style allow you to enjoy the ride. But there are definitely limits. I’m not sure any amount of in-story reason will convince me flicking off evil is “cool,” and the insistent allegory is a bit too on-the-nose at times. That said, Snyder does an impressive job setting a larger stage in limited space. There’s a rich world to explore that provides the basis for endless fascinating storytelling opportunities. This volume feels like the beginning of a much larger endeavor, and serves as a solid pitch for why you should want more.
There are shades of Spawn and Assassin’s Creed here, which serve to give Capullo plenty to work with in the art department. I’ve read the book both digitally and physically and would highly recommend the latter. Something about Capullo’s art looks even more impressive with ink, where all the gruesome intricacies can shine. He’s in his element here, masterfully rendering the most insane demonic visions he can imagine. And what an imagination! My favorite character is Gus the Demon-turned-Godfolk and that conclusion is 100% based on his awesome design. The action is smooth, violent and gorgeous. Capullo leaves little more to be desired.
We Have Demons won’t please everyone, but its confidence and craftsmanship are difficult to resist. There’s a clear vision here that portends a much larger tale. But for now, Volume 1 is a solid start.
We Have Demons, Vol. 1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: ComiXology Originals – Best Jackett Press
The conflict between good and evil is about to come to a head when a teenage hero embarks on a journey that unveils a secret society, monsters, and mayhem.
The first creator owned collaboration from the superstar team of writer SCOTT SNYDER and artist GREG CAPULLO! After block-buster work on titles like DC’s Batman, this best-selling team brings their talents to comiXology!
Harrison manages a comic shop by day and writes comics by night. You can find more of his writing at @stewart_bros