|A review of Demonology 101
by Kajamir the Giant
Demonology 101 is a generally serious natured comic consisting of a small occult pertained family and their circle of friends. Demonology features some fairly stylish black and white art and solid writing. However, the nature of the comic is particularly dour and while the content is solid, it doesn't boast a great deal to grab out at the reader. In the long run, the comic plays out as a soap opera, with the car crashes and evil twins substituted by demon children and prophecy.
First, let's talk about the art and imagery. Demonology has a fairly nice style, although the shading took some time to grow on me, as it could make things look confused. The characters themselves are generally believable in appearance (even the demons are pretty human looking) but they continue to run afoul of looking similar to one another. As mentioned by other reviewers, Gabe/John and Isaac/Lethe can be hard to tell apart at times. The characters look fairly good as they are, none of them seemingly made as eye candy, which makes you focus more on their personality. The rendering of the noses, facial expressions, and upper bodies also look great. However, this doesn't seem to go very with the leg portions of characters, as even adults look kiddie-ish in proportions. The pictures are best off above the waist in this case.
That's relating to a large problem I had with this comic. The unseeming appearances. While they look good, at times the height, and especially the age of the characters, does not seem well expressed. While the John character changes appearance several times, the others seem to stagnate, even the youngest characters not looking very teenage, so must as just taller children. There's also an irksome problem with a character's eyes not seeming to 'sync' in the right direction, but this is uncommon.
The kids in the comic are fairly cute. And there's a lot of them. Even a majority of the bad guys are just children demons for some reason, bearing as much power as the older 'mafioso types'. The author really does her best work on youthful character imagery, but the amount of children figuring into this story could be construed heavy handed, given how much seriousness and unrelenting demonic law keeps poking in.
Backgrounds for this story are on the weak side. They're rendered pretty blurry in comparison to the characters own images, but they exist enough to be able to make them out usually. It's passable, but just barely.
The plot is solid. And that's about the meat of it. It's so flat, it doesn't really stand out. I wasn't so much bothered by the semi-typical demons/highschool thing, but just that it didn't really grab me. It's a decent story, really, but an unremarkable one.
Due to the dismal nature of the good characters, we rarely see them happy, ever. I think that's a large issue with the writing, as to why it might not grab a person to read. The story is depressing, the good guys are mainly just unempowered victims who wait around to be attacked, and the only thing that saves them in the long run is some irrational 'unexpected' variable. The main character, a little demon girl, spends a majority of the comic brooding about something or another. It's reasonably believable, but they should also have shown her with times when she enjoys herself, which seems little else than maybe once a month at this rate. This is not compelling to keep reading for the length.
The general story flow is supernatural intrigue, and soap opera-ish interactions. These can be fairly good and believable. We read a lot about things not being said, obscure unspoken religious rules being insisted on (thankfully, only one biblical passage quote), and many, many origins, some less true than others. In essence, the meat for reading is here, but for the reasons already mentioned, it's unflavored. I want to like this comic, but the lack of anything to grab you factors in. I think the only part that really intrigued me was the romance between Isaac and the demon woman in chapter 5. It seemed more emotionally fresh than previous moments. Maybe more so, because we didn't expect it from an insane, rather evil sort like Isaac. This story needed more things like that. I would have also liked to have seen more focus on the Sachs character. Come on, an immortal man who exists as an heirloom to a family should be fascinating in his own right. Unfortunately, until Chapter 5, aside from mentionings of his interactions with the Jenners, we hear virtually nothing about him.
I think Demonology 101 is a fair comic, but once again, that lack of a grasping element downplays my interest. The artistry, is generally good, with some passable flaws. There is very little action in the comic, which it could have stood more of, and I feel, it could stand to step away from the dreariness formula, which goes: Brooding weak heros, someone malevolent attacks them (Isaac or Lethe related), good guys get beat up, something outside their control comes into save them. I would like to see the good characters start holding their own and show some strength. One of them does, but he fails everytime. The main girl, Raven, is beginning to show that she can stand above this, but since my reading is ended at Chapter 5, I can't speak what the future holds.
Finally, the issue of the servers. I didn't really pick up on it until Chapter 4, but Faith.Net is incredibly slow. I literally walked off for a minute at a time to do laundry tasks in between each page. It's too much.
Demonology 101 shows definite potential, and I do get the impression, it could be something fairly excellent someday if the art is tightened up a bit, and the plot is made more intriguing, as opposed to simply being about intrigue. Demonology would play well as a graphic compedium novel, I believe. It has that element to be a sit down and read book. However, since the comic is updated only every other Sunday, I unfortunately, won't be following this one anymore. It lacks cliffhangers to make me want to wait two weeks at a time for a single page. It really is better shown as an entire set.
I'm going to rate Demonology 101, 6 out 10 stars. It's a good framework for the author, even if she doesn't continue it later, but there is a very defined path to improvement on this one.