From The Walking Dead and Lazarus, to The Kill Screen, the world of indie comics are full of dystopian futures. However, while a grim future is not a new idea, the reason behind it is rarely war. To this end, we are granted something different with The Demon Archives, an action adventure comic charting a world after war. But is this a title which is worth fighting for or it a losing battle?
Publisher: Thrive Dev
Writer: Daniel Sharp
Artist: Sebastian Piriz, Matias Basia, Nico Leon, Nickolas Sharp (producer)
Price: Up to $3 Available from https://gumroad.com/daemondan
Set in a dystopian future where Asia, much like the rest of the world, is recovery from societal collapse and nuclear war, The Demon Archives tells the story of Tenzin Dorje, captain of the mighty Keleres military squad, and his men as they defend the small settlements on the outskirts of Minerva. However, a routine assignment becomes the stuff of nightmares as Tenzin, along with his squad of Aegis’ best, are dispatched to a remote town on a babysitting job only to find their destination deserted. What’s happened to the townspeople? Who could have vanished them away? And, most importantly, who or what is the mysterious figure stalking Tenzin’s unit through the abandoned streets?
The Demon Archives is an immensely enjoyable series, being fun, exciting and deeply engrossing. While the plot is a simple enough affair, the characters are the real draw here with the entire cast coming across deeply engaging and likeable, if not terribly detailed (apart from Tenzin, who is the main focus, particularly in the tonally different fourth issue.) In particular, it is the relationship between Tenzin and Viktor that is the most enjoyable, with a real ‘bands of brothers’ feel coming across, which is perfectly encapsulated within their final pages together. If there is one flaw in the series it is that information relating to larger world is absent (although is available on the comics website), but this is a small issue given the larger enjoyment of the story.
As for art, the artistic team provide us a beautiful looking series from the get go, with gorgeous covers imbued with a Jae Lee style and interiors which look very similar to Tony Moore’s The Walking Dead pages with Nich Angell’s colours added. This is no better exemplified than early on in the title with an ‘explosively’ awesome depiction of the war’s beginning.
The colours are light and, while they do get darker as the story progresses, they imbue a light heartedness in the story while the artwork maintains its consistently with solid pencils throughout. In fact, the only concerns about the art come in the fourth issue, which takes a different route with additional artists sharing the responsibilities. However, while it is initially a little jarring, it does work well to differentiate the various flashbacks making up Tenzin’s history.
While not perfect and requiring a little added info from elsewhere, The Demon Archives is fast-paced, action packed sci-fi story about the closest band of soldiers you’ll see since Gears of War. Combine that with stunning panels and the writer’s passion to create a deep world, this is a series that will be worth your money to read.