Last review, I was pretty hard on Christopher Sebela’s premiere issue of Demonic, but looking back on it, I still feel it was warranted criticism – the first book went back to common tropes again and again as its main character, NY cop Scott Graves, murdered bad guys in order to save himself and his family from a life of hell at the hands of the demon Aeshma. Demonic #2 returns with the same format, but this issue at least adds a bit of life to the story with Scott accepting his plight while attempting to avoid detection from the police, with one detective seemingly familiar with the demonic infestation plaguing him. Can Sebela avoid the problems of his initial issue, or will Demonic fall into the flames once again?
The answer to that question is, unfortunately, somewhere between the two spectra. Demonic #2 is certainly a better issue of this series, but it’s still problematically derivative to the point where it’s difficult to get invested in the storyline. Everything so far has played out exactly as Sebela has set up from the outset, with Graves eventually falling in line with Aeshma’s demands. In this issue, the plot moves forward in an expected manner without much fanfare or surprise, and for the most part Demonic #2 is a level-headed approach to the story that doesn’t generate much excitement.
That means that this issue amps up some of the murders as Graves, donning his cape and claws, heads out to the streets to murder bad people in order to fill up Aeshma’s soul quota. This is aided by Niko Walter and Dan Brown’s artwork, which is part of the reason why I’m still reading – their character designs are great and the violent scenes are done well but sparingly, along with good stylistic choices. The problem with Demonic #2‘s inclusion of Graves coming up with a “menu” for Aeshma is that, so far, Sebela hasn’t given the reader any inclination of how many souls Aeshma will need or what Grave’s endgame will be. Right now, the book is too open-ended to generate suspense, and Aeshma’s dialogue often shows how unfocused the storyline is right now. In this issue, she even threatens that if Scott dies, she’ll ride him through Hell and back into a new body. That lessens the stakes – except if you’re rooting for Graves’ family, I guess – and promises a never-ending story of Graves killing people and evading the police until he’s finally caught or murdered.
Speaking of, one of Demonic #2‘s more promising moments involves the addition of Detective Hendricks to the police force working on Graves’ murders. He seems to know a lot more about demons and “vehicles” like Graves than Sebela’s letting on yet, and while the series has been lacking any destination for the journey, it feels like Demonic #2 is at least cementing a direction. Perhaps Graves’ demonic infestation is just the beginning; it would be interesting to see Sebela add more characters in Graves’ predicament.
Demonic #2 isn’t groundbreaking for this series, but Sebela’s making some progress with the story. However, it’s questionable whether readers will feel invested enough to continue on this hellish path, since the plot is both slow and familiar. Sebela needs to infuse some more stakes into the series, because right now there’s just not enough suspense.