Saturday, October 10, 2020

DevilMan #2

 Halloween Post-A-Day 2020, Day 11

The Crapbox goes to Hell!

DevilMan #2

 

Go Nagia’s weird demon apocalypse in its original form

 

 

Writer – Go Nagai

Artist – Go Nagai

Color – Chip Marler

Letterer – Richard Bent

Sept 1995

 

DevilMan has a long and strange history of revision and recreation of the same story. The plot of DevilMan began as an anime adaptation of Go Nagai’s prior series Demon Lord Dante. That series was designed to provoke, with Nagai having humans and God to be historically evil and the devil and Demon Lord Dante as forces for good. The main character is a high-school boy who is fused with a demon, fights them for a time, but eventually decides that humanity is more evil than the demons. He ends up time-traveling with a demon character called Medusa who reveals, and I quote wiki:

 

“…that God is an energy-based monster who once destroyed the high-tech Sodom where they lived as lovers. God wanted Earth inhabitants' bodies but as Dante denied to comply with it God attacked the city. Dante, Medusa, and some others turned into demons by absorbing God's power. When Dante pilots a powerful jet fighter in an attempt to buy time for his friends to escape, he is grabbed by a Pteranodon. Careening into a nearby Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dante was left open to be consumed in God's fires, causing him to be fused with his jet and the two prehistoric reptiles to create his current form. Later in a confrontation with God at the Himalayas, Dante was sealed in ice.

 

God also attacked Gomorrah and its survivors, the last actual humans in existence, became the Satanists. After this, God divided himself into pieces and took residence in apes that evolved into the current "human" race. Defeated by God and sealed in the Himalayas, Dante transferred his human body and soul to Judas Iscariot and Ryo Utsugi respectively to be reborn two thousand years later. The story ends as Dante reassembles his demon army and is prepared to destroy humankind.”

 

I…well,…I…Fuck, I don’t know. I mean that is seriously sounds like someone’s LSD fueled rantings up there that sounds equal parts crazy and awesome.

 

I don’t have any of those manga issues thought. What I do have is DevilMan number 2 which is SO CLOSE to that same storyline…yet not. DevilMan has the same basic premise: boy fused with demon then fights demons. However, Nagai changed up the antagonist quite a bit and dropped the entire “God bad – Satan good” bit.

 

I’m going to spoil this series in just a bit, but first: YES, this is the same story as DevilMan Crybaby, which is yet a THIRD retelling of these same plot and themes by Nagai, a dude who seriously can’t get enough of stories about guys melded with demons and devils. If you haven’t checked out DevilMan Crybaby on Netflix, do so post haste. It’s a mature-rated, very short anime that will leave you confused, but in a good way.

 

Similarly to how this issue left me. Devilman was a normal high-school kid Akira Fudo who ended up melded with a devil because his friend Ryo Asuka thought the world needed a demon fighter to stave off an impending invasion. So Asuka involves Akira in a terrible ritual that merges him with a demon. Ryo names him Devilman and he is treated like a hero for a bit. You know…saving people, killing demons…etc. But then it turns out (Spoilers here!) that Ryo IS SATAN and has been actively assisting the demons coming to Earth. Akira’s girlfriend is killed by demons, then Devilman allies himself with a group of demons to attack Satan/Ryo, and the result of that battle is the end of humanity, the death of Devilman, and Satan professing his love to the top half of Devilman’s corpse.

 

Yeah, that’s just Fuuuuuuuuuked up!

 

Just like this book. A direct conversion of the manga, with the pages ran the right way (don’t ask how they do that. It is super complicated, I’m certain), this book is full of huge single page images and weird transitions. And the story! Oh man!

 

Here we have Devilman’s human form and Ryo traveling back in time to the Hundred Years’ War. Why? Uh…





 

I don’t know, but the book goes on and on explaining things through pointless, unasked for exposition. It goes on for so long that by the time the demons come in ALSO traveling through time that we don’t realize it.

 


And then we land in the thick of battle and the troops part to show us…

 


Joan of Arc. Then a page of her leading a battle group, followed quickly by…

 




…what looks like something out of a Monty Python bit where a giant demon hand snatches her off the battlefield.

 


She is consumed by whirling devil clouds and forced through a doorway to…

 



…a kangaroo court presided over by demons already convinced she is guilty of some kind of crime. There is a lot of yelling here that seriously could not be the actual translation of the Japanese text. I particularly like the panel where Joan is yelling nothing in such a serious manner.




This goes on for eight pages of bullshit that makes no sense whatsoever, with the demons saying Joan of Arc will stop war and war is good and what humanity really needs and because of that she’s a witch…



 


 

Joan claims she isn’t a witch, and that she is an agent of God, which causes more commotion and cries for her to be killed by burning her at the stake.

 

Then Akira walks in saying bullshit like “I’ve come from beyond time to thwart your scheme!”

 


And then he transforms into Devilman..

 


…and the rest of the issue is just one big clusterfuck fight…

 


…that goes on and on…

 

...until the big bad is decapitated.

 



And Devilman rescues Joan of Arc, who he takes back to where she belongs so she can “Fulfill her mission there for all mankind!”

 



So back to the battle she goes saying that she met an angle who borrowed the shape of the devil…

 



And end scene…

 


I am seriously not a fan of this. The recent anime, I recommend. But this feels pointless. Even the few panels that I found were dramatic or evocative, are buried under a story that is batshit crazy and goes on for 15 pages too long in a 20 page comic. This is “following Weight Watchers for 20 years” levels of thin and I just can’t endorse it. Watch Devilman Crybaby and forget its source material.

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