The Devil That Wears My Face #1 is a religious horror comic published by Mad Cave Studios, written by David Pepose, art and colors by Alex Cormack, and letters by Justin Birch. A man is possessed in Spain and murdering priests. But the next one that the Vatican sent appears to have a much bigger reputation.
This starting issue is with a superb plot. Not holding anything back from the first page, the existence of demons is revealed as a matter of fact. But then the issue calms and slows down, moving to the Vatican and establishing important worldbuilding. Set in a time before electricity, the politics of the Pope and the Catholic Church are intriguing, with much more power than would be found in today’s climate. The formation of the issue is heavily angling the priest, Vieri, towards a meeting with that demon. This build-up follows a vein like exorcist movies such as The Rite, with many confessions and tensions. But as Vieri steps into Spain, Pepose brings the story into its own. There is a terrifying confrontation that never goes the way that is expected. It gets louder and louder, becoming a cacophony of carnage by the end of the issue. It becomes clear that this opening issue is merely the start of a much larger saga. The ramifications of the ending are deceptive so that not all of them can be predicted, and it splits the rest of the plot in two.
The dialogue and the characters are sensational. The demon is deliciously sinister, reveling in pain and manipulation. The politics among the priests in the Vatican is fascinating as well. Some parts are grim and unpleasant, such as the suggestion of what’s happened to the Pope himself and the descriptions of previous exorcisms. There is great power in all of the voices, with menace and venom within the dialogue of holy men. In Spain, the showdown between a brave man of god and a demon that feasts on the flesh of priests begins. Pepose brilliantly allows for the scripture that Vieri recites to remain in Latin, which is much more imposing within the already intense situation,
The art is mesmerizing. Gruesome from the start, the horrors that this comic unveils are always disturbing. While scary, these elements only originate from extensions of humanity. It may be a grotesque injury or body horror, all existing and relying on natural creations. But the supernatural is undeniable, and Cormack is not seeking to hide it. The expressions are fantastic, mainly when depicting fright. The wide eyes and small piles make the images ghastlier. Clinging to humanity gets less and less possible as the battle of spirituality and wits gets more vigorous. There is an obsession with eyes, multiplying and expanding over the panel. They move like a Lovecraftian sea, but what’s most terrifying is that there is something else in those layers, and the level of detail to display is phenomenal.
The colors crucially establish the darkness of the comic, as well as signifying an age without natural lighting. Each room and location has different tones, but very few are particularly bright. In Spain, the sky is blood red, blaring a warning about as loudly as possible. The red in the blood and the glowing eyes of demons is the most vibrant color of the comic, and it drips and flows. That red becomes more prominent in the last stage of the book, blending with orange to insinuate fire. At this point, the colors are intoxicating and purposefully overpowering, threatening to engulf everything. Birch brilliantly separates the dialogue between normal humans and demons, working spectacularly in the most fraught conversations.
The Devil That Wears My Face #1 adds a twist to the classic exorcist tale. Setting up with the standard ingredients of a Heaven vs. Hell battle, it doesn’t take long for the series to go in its direction. The book has some politics and circumstances that are fascinating and genuinely captivating, lacing it with supernatural curveballs. The whole issue is barely the opening act, getting to the inciting incident by the last page. Pepose has done hardcore, dark, and violent comics before, but this series shatters the chains and allows him to go even further.
The Devil That Wears My Face #1
The Devil That Wears My Face #1 adds a twist to the classic exorcist tale. Setting up with the standard ingredients of a Heaven vs. Hell battle, it doesn’t take long for the series to go in its direction.