REVIEW: ‘Demon Days: X-Men,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

X:Men Demon Days #1

Demon Days: X-Men #1 is written, illustrated and colored by Peach Momoko (with English translation by Zack Davisson) and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. It is published by Marvel Comics. Taking place in an alternate universe, the series features the X-Men’s Psylocke as a demon hunter who travels Japan with her trusty wolf Logan. Psylocke comes to a village that is haunted by Orochi-a massive snake that is possessed by the Venom symbiote. To stop it, she enlists the help of the massive oni Hulkmaru.

The first look at the Demon Days saga came in King in Black #4, and with this issue Momoko fully delves into the universe she’s created. The idea of mixing Marvel characters with Japanese culture is nothing new, as Marvel’s tried similar series in the past with Marvel Mangaverse and X-Men Misfits. However, having a Japanese artist at the helm gives this project an air of authenticity-especially with the lore that is being presented here.

Momoko manages to take several of Marvel’s heroes and put her own spin on them in this universe. In addition to Psylocke being a demon slayer and Wolverine a wolf, Hulkmaru is a demonic version of the Red Hulk. A jushi (curse master) in the village bears a resemblance to Jubilee with fireworks in her hair. And the ending of the issue hints at a potential take on Black Widow. I would love to see what Momoko does with other heroes, particularly Spider-Man.

What really makes this series feel like a bonafide manga is Momoko’s art. As I noted in my review of King in Black #4, her art looks like a Japanese painting brought to life. Psylocke moves with the grace of a trained swordswoman while Venom is sleek and serpentine in his movements. And when Hulkmaru moves, the very earth seems to shake in his wake. The colors are also beautiful to behold as Momoko paints the scenery in vibrant tones, from Hulkmaru’s crimson colored skin to Venom’s jet black skin and soulless white eyes. Psylocke is obviously the most prominent, sporting a new version of her classic purple costume. Simply put, this is one of the best looking books I’ve seen in a while. Maher’s lettering adds to the manga-esque elements, featuring captions that look like weathered scrolls.

The book’s secret weapon has to be Davisson. He has served as a translator for several manga series, and also serves as an expert on Japanese folklore. The second part is utilized for a series of essays on creatures from Japanese folklore that appear in the series, which was insanely informative and also features more amazing artwork from Momoko. Davisson wrote a similar series of essays for Jim Zub and Steven Cummings’ Image Comics series Wayward, which I loved and learned about Japanese culture from.

Demon Days: X-Men #1 merges Japanese history and Marvel characters together in a splendid story, which also features some of the most stunning artwork in a comic series and a deep dive into Japanese folklore. If you love X-Men, manga, or both, this is the book for you-and the next installment in the Demon Days saga looks to give even more Marvel characters the same treatment.

Demon Days: X-Men #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

 

X-Men: Demon Days #1
5

TL;DR

Demon Days: X-Men #1 merges Japanese history and Marvel characters together in a splendid story, which also features some of the most stunning artwork in a comic series and a deep dive into Japanese folklore. If you love X-Men, manga, or both, this is the book for you-and the next installment in the Demon Days saga looks to give even more Marvel characters the same treatment.