Comics Features

Thursdays With Patrick: The Devil You Know

This week in Thursdays With Patrick, you’ll get a bit of Heaven…and a taste of Hell with Deimos, the fallen angel of Class Comics!

Character: Deimos
Appears In: Deimos, Rapture, Meaty

Deimos’ saga can be found on the CLASS COMICS WEBSITE!

Warning: NOT safe for work! Not even a little.

Deimos. He was once an angel, one of the first in existence, and also one of the first to fall with Lucifer into Hell. He wreaked havoc for thousands of years in Hell’s name, but over time he began to regret his path. He wanted his wings back, but Heaven was understandably reluctant to oblige. Now, he fights for the forces of good in his own way to prove his worthiness to Heaven, but that doesn’t mean his old boss is letting him off the hook. Feared and valued by both sides in almost equal measures, he isn’t going to have an easy time of it. And we haven’t even gotten into the bit about the naked cultists yet.

image
Deimos’ fans appear without warning, day or night.

Deimos’ books are a story of contrast and duality, both on the page and off. Deimos was cast out of Heaven and now wants back in, even while Hell tries to get him back (or destroy him if need be). He’s a demon who fights for the forces of good, even while he works hard to keep his demonic nature in check. It’s a story written and directed by Patrick Fillion, but always drawn by somebody else, with the exception of the origin issue. Perhaps most tellingly, Deimos demonstrates a contrast between the capacity for virtue and redemption and the equally strong potential for sin and corruption.

Deimos may be Fillion’s most serious character yet. While there exists a good deal of dark humor in the books, the mood is darker, the streets are grittier and the stakes are higher than ever. After all, Deimos himself may be the tipping point of the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. That’s pretty heavy stuff. To be sure, Deimos is likely the most graphic Class Comics title. The fight scenes are frequent and often bloody, and even the sex scenes possess a strong element of violence and aggression rarely seen in Fillion’s other works. This darker, violent edge is appropriate, however, and it suits the story perfectly.

image
Suits? What suits? We were supposed to have suits?

While Deimos may not be a direct response to genre conventions in the same way Naked Justice or Zahn are, it’s impossible not to view Deimos’ books in light of the current romanticized supernatural media saturating the culture. Twilight has done a fantastic job of removing the menace from vampires and werewolves, simplifying and sympathizing with them in ways that Anne Rice never dreamed of. Deimos is a demon first and foremost, as are many of the characters in the books. They don’t brood, they don’t gaze longingly and they definitely don’t sparkle. This is a down-and-dirty grindhouse of a comic in all the best possible ways, and that’s remarkably refreshing.

Deimos is a quintessential comic anti-hero. His gruff demeanor hides yet another gruff demeanor, and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty to get what he needs, whether that’s information or a piece of ass. He fights on the side of good, but the ends most definitely justify the means in his world. He’s what would happen if Wolverine and Spawn were combined into one: a hell-borne warrior on a quest for redemption, and you better not get in the way, bub.

image
See what happens?

The books aren’t all shadow and weight, however. A vein of black comedy runs underneath all the brutal combat and rough sex. There’s a distinct Clive Barker feel to the books that’s never laugh-out-loud funny, but consistently adds a wry smile to the proceedings. The Dark Lord of Hell, the Master of Evil himself? His name is Bob. Fillion isn’t above poking fun at himself, either, and his stable of super-endowed heroes. In fact, Bob puts them all to shame in that department.

There’s also a bit of genuine emotion running through the story in the relationship between Deimos and Sethan, one of Bob’s lieutenants. Deimos and Sethan were lovers when they were both in Hell, and even though they work at cross-purposes now, the affection between the two is still apparent, even if it’s buried under animosity and rivalry. It’s a fact that complicates both their missions, and like all the relationships in the book, it’s fueled by doubt, misdirection and friction…both literal and metaphorical.

 

image
Meet Bob.

In fact, most of the characters in Deimos’ books are constantly questioning themselves and their paths, with the notable exception of Bob, who’s pretty comfortable being the Prince of Darkness. Deimos, obviously, has doubts about himself and his ability to control his infernal nature. It doesn’t help that his weapon of choice is the Grinn Reaper, an intelligent, shape-shifting demonic weapon who disagrees with Deimos’ quest. Cardinal, the angel sent from Heaven to be Deimos’ minder, is confronted with the whole of human sexuality after an eternity of being completely asexual. It makes him question not only his purpose, but the motives of his own superior (aka God). Nearly everything in Deimos’ world has a hidden meaning or anterior motives, and every character is his or her own mystery waiting to be solved.

The most striking aspect of Deimos’ story, however, may be its take on sexuality. In other Fillion works, sex has been seen as a weapon, as a hobby, and as an expression of self.  Sex in Deimos’ world often takes on a near-spiritual significance. It’s certainly a lot harder than in other books, infused with a primal nature that’s as old as the conflict between demons and angels. Angels are completely without sexual orientation (although they have the appropriate equipment) while demons like Bob express virtually every sexual orientation imaginable, and as often as possible.

image
Such an innocent…for now….

Deimos himself is gay, but almost more than any other of Fillion’s comics, the significance of that is downplayed. Deimos probably keeps his pants on more often than any other Class Comics hero, but he still gets more than his share of scorching erotica. In fact, because Deimos is so (relatively) clothed that may be what makes him so alluring; it’s as if we’re being asked to imagine what’s under those tight leather pants, then turning the pages to see if we were right.

An interesting facet of Deimos’ story is that aside from Deimos #0, Fillion leaves the artwork to other people to focus on the writing. In the main Deimos line, this is beautifully handled by artist Logan in a remarkably appropriate, pleasantly rough style that gives the story an extra edge. Fillion’s work in #0 is excellent, and his character designs are brilliant, especially for the wicked, vicious she-devil Azagoth. However, Logan’s style gives everything a bit of an impressionist, manga-like vibe, with excellent work on faces and fantastic staging of fight scenes. Fillion couldn’t have left it in better hands.

image
Give us a smile, love.

Deimos’ books go to places that Fillion hasn’t gone before, and that’s part of the series’ charm. It’s unflinchingly raw in places, and it isn’t afraid to dabble in cosmic horror (see also Deimos #2 and the…well, just see it for yourself). On top of all that, it has a hero who is likable, even when he’s giving in to his basest instincts. It’s a twisting, turning puzzle box of a story with excellent writing from Fillion and solid art by Logan. Sometimes we all give in to the demon within our own natures. It’s comforting to see that even heroes aren’t afraid to flaunt their dark sides…and that they’re just as internally conflicted as the rest of us.

image
Also flaunted: guns.

Deimos:
Calling: Repentant
Hindrance: Monstrous
Abilities: Strength 10A, Agility 7D, Intellect 4C, Willpower 6C, Edge 2, Hand Size 4, Health 25
Powers: Resistance to Fire +4, Body Armor +2, Horns +1
Skills: AxesBrawling, Clubs, Swords, Martial Arts, Lore (Hell), Occult, Intimidation, Tracking
Equipment: Grinn Reaper +4 (Grinn can transform itself into any melee weapon, always with a +4 bonus regardless of shape or size; Deimos has a telepathic bond with Grinn, and Deimos is always considered to have the appropriate skill for whatever weapon Grinn currently happens to be)

JOHNNY M is a frequent FBOTU contributor and sold his soul for $1.74 and a Klondike bar.<a href="http://www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/index.php/forums/member/21/" title="imageimage

%d bloggers like this: