REVIEW: ‘Excorsisters,’ Vol 1.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Most exorcism stories are pretty grim affairs. Thank’s to William Peter Blatty you can’t find a case of demonic possession that doesn’t come with kids vomiting pea soup or morally ambiguous priests. But who says that’s how it has to be? If you’re going to kick the crap out of the devil, you might as well have some fun while you do it or at least that is the case in Image Comics’ Exorsisters Vol. 1, written by Ian Boothby, with art by Gisèle Lagacé, colors by Pete Pantazis, and lettering by Taylor Esposito. 

Say you’ve sold your soul to the devil, don’t worry, it happens all the time. But in between the hellfire and the torture, you might decide that this whole “Eternal Damnation” thing isn’t for you. If you’re a client of the Harrow Sisters, you’re in luck! Kate and Cate Harrow work as modern-day exorcists, solving all your supernatural problems for a nominal fee. But things get weird for the Harrow’s when their mom comes to town. Fallen angels, freak possessions, and a demonic ex-boyfriend all come calling for the sisters. It’ll take all their wits to keep all hell from breaking loose.

The high point of Exorsisters has to be the Harrow Sisters themselves.  Sure, they might look normal. Cate’s a little tight-laced, while Kate likes to run wild. But for reasons the book explains, their contrasting personalities never seem like opposites. Instead, the sisters operate as two halves of a whole, a yin and yang power duo here to kick demon ass and look good doing it. I got to hand it to Ian Boothby. “Mismatched siblings” is one of those basic archetypes that is as easy to bungle as it is to under develop. But Boothby writes both sisters with enough wit and charm to thread that needle with ease.  

Likewise, the cases the sisters take on put the laughter in “slaughterhouse”. Boothby thought a lot about all the ways an Exorcist could make some cash, so no two cases are alike. Each does a fine job of expanding the world of Exorsisters Vol. 1 and the Harrow’s place in it, with plenty of viscera thrown in for the gorehounds.

There’s a lot to enjoy with Exorsisters Vol. 1, but it’s not without flaws. At times the story laid out by the script and the scenes captured in the panels don’t match each other’s tone. Gisèle Lagacé’s characters have the uniformly pretty facial expressions most often seen in manga-influenced works. While pretty, this style doesn’t lend itself to the book’s exaggerated scenes of demon fighting and exorcism. There’s more Betty and Veronica in Exorsisters Vol. 1 than Hellraiser, but that’s not a bad thing. After all, Lagacé’s most notable works include many issues of Archie as well as the romance webcomic Ménage à 3. So even with that slight facial disconnect, Lagacé has the chops to keep an issue rolling.

The other aspect of  Exorsisters Vol. 1 that didn’t entirely win me over was its issue structure. Each chapter of the series opens in the middle of things as the Harrow Sisters work through one of their cases. Once that case gets resolved, the plot kicks back in as the sisters investigate the supernatural mystery that runs through the volume. Every issue’s ending leans into that core mystery, which makes the abrupt shift between chapters jarring at times.

Overall though, Exorsisters Vol. 1 is funny, irreverent, and a hell of a good time. Whether you’re a wild child or a goody-two-shoes, Exorsisters Vol. 1 has the goods.

Exorsisters Vol. 1 is available in comic book stores everywhere now

Excorsisters
3.5

TL;DR

Overall though, Exorsisters Vol. 1 is funny, irreverent, and a hell of a good time. Whether you’re a wild child or a goody-two-shoes, Exorsisters Vol. 1 has the goods.