DC Comics’ celebration of Jack Kirby’s centennial year is winding down, but it still has new projects to offer in these last months. Kirby creations Etrigan and Jason Blood are back in next week’s The Demon: Hell Is Earth, a new miniseries that takes the body-sharing pair to California’s Death Valley to stop a hellish mystical threat. Writer Andrew Constant is a newcomer to superhero stories, but he’s been creating atmospheric, genre-bending creator-owned comics since 2011. His take on this concept is much creepier and more unsettling than the explosive action-fantasy Kirby put on the page, leaning into the psychological horror elements inherent in the concept of a man sharing his body with a literal demon.
This exclusive preview of The Demon: Hell Is Earth #1 highlights Etrigan’s sadism on the very first page, a sequence shown from Etrigan’s point of view as he slices his nail through the flesh of a burning little girl. He is a monster that delights in the suffering of others, and these dreams indicate that Jason can’t keep Etrigan at bay for much longer. The art by Brad Walker, inker Andrew Hennesy, and colorist Chris Sotomayor reinforces the horror tone with heavy shadows and a chilly palette, and Walker emphasizes the contrast between Jason and Etrigan through their body language and expressions. Jason is weary and worried while Etrigan is excited and self-assured, confident that he’ll eventually gain control of Jason’s body and have the freedom to wreak havoc on Earth.
Etrigan doesn’t have his signature rhyming dialogue in this preview, but given the context of this scene, it’s possible that not having him rhyme is a clue that Jason isn’t actually having a conversation with the real Etrigan. Maybe he’s hallucinating the demon in the mirror. Jason has endured enough suffering over the centuries to give him severe psychological trauma, and given Constant’s past comics, it’s very possible that he’ll be exploring this aspect of the central character dynamic.