Since it first launched in 2004, Webtoon has grown as a popular platform for digital comics, with books such as The God Of High School, Tower Of God, and Lore Olympus crossing over into mainstream popularity. And earlier this year, it announced nine new series had been greenlit into full production thanks to a deluge of votes from its user base. Among the ones chosen, there was a notable standout: LySandra Vuong’s Covenant.
It’s easy to see why fans were so taken in early on with Covenant, given the opening fight scene that sees protagonist Ezra face off against a demon in the first issue. Just as he prepares to exorcise her, he’s realizes he’s forgotten the rest of the rites he needs to say, and calls for help from partner Samson, shown proudly standing on a pile of demons while wielding an assault rifle like she’s in an action movie. The opening highlights Vuong’s strengths as an action artist, giving Ezra and his fellow priests a black-and-gold motif for their outfits and weapons that consistently makes for striking moments during the fights against demons.
Described by Vuong as a story of “hot priests battling even hotter demons,” Covenant definitely lives up to its concept. Not that it’s hard, since Ezra and his fellow priests all wear revealing outfits to summon weapons out of their tattooed bodies. Both in and out of the comic, Vuong’s been more than happy to lean into the intersection between sexuality and religion, as in her work the major players on the human and demon sides have been designed with looking attractive at the forefront. It’s a choice that makes the book charming—as if it’s television-lite concept about queer college kids who also hunt demons didn’t already do that.
The main thrust of the book is Ezra and his team being charged with protecting his brooding roommate Sunny, who’s spent his life being hunted by demons. Slow burn is the name of the game; readers will likely have a good idea of just what Sunny’s deal is before the book comes out and says it. Between the nuggets of backstory and action, issues can sometimes feel a little listless as Ezra tries to figure out his new responsibility to Sunny. Given that Ezra and Sunny’s relationship forms the majority of the narrative, Samson and the other priests on the team unfortunately don’t have much to do outside of fight scenes. They’re rarely not seen together as a full unit, and other than when they reunite in an early issue for a night of partying, there’s not much downtime permitted in the plotting, where they can just be characters or develop.
Covenant’s debut season can feel unsure of itself as it builds its world and juggles its cast of protectors and destroyers. But even when it falters, it’s consistently charming, well worth reading each time its chapters drop on weekends. As with several other Webtoon originals, Covenant should scratch an itch you maybe didn’t know you had—even if that itch is some hot monsters from hell.