ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Demon Days: Cursed Web,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Demon Days Cursed Web - But Why Tho

Demon Days: Cursed Web #1 is written, illustrated, and colored by Peach Momoko (with English adaptation and dialogue by Zack Davisson) and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. It is published by Marvel Comics. Part two of “The Yashida Saga” finds Mariko Yashida traveling into the mysterious realm of Kirisaki Mountain to confront the malevolent Ogin and learn the source of her powers. Along the way, she encounters Ogin’s henchmen Toraji and Ocho, who have been sent to kill her. Luckily, Mariko gains allies in the form of the spider-manipulating Reina and the wolf Logan from Demon Days: X-Men.

Continuing the tradition of the previous Demon Days one-shots, Momoko has reimagined characters from the Marvel Universe using elements of Japanese mythology. Ocho and Toraji are stand-ins for X-Men villains Mystique and Sabretooth respectively and are confirmed to be oni with shapeshifting and healing powers. Reina’s skills with science and her affinity with spiders act as a parallel for Spider-Girl; she even has a “spider-sense” that warns her of evil. And the ending hints at a pair of Marvel heroes turned villains that Mariko will have to face in the future.

Speaking of Mariko, her powers are revealed in full display and they’re frightening to behold. When Mariko accesses her oni powers, her eyes turn blood red and a fiery red aura surrounds her entire body. Add in her bright red fang mask and tanto knife, and she becomes a formidable combatant as Ocho and Toraji soon find out. Red seems to be the most prominent color in this one-shot, as splashes and streaks of red paint represent the blood that is being shed by combatants. In fact, this may be the bloodiest of the Demon Days one-shots. Limbs are hacked off, people are strangled, and one character suffers ocular trauma twice.

That level of violence ties into the recurring theme of revenge, and the cost it extolls on people. Reina lost her family to Ocho and seeks revenge, a concept that Mariko is clearly uncomfortable with. She even tries to convince Reina not to kill anyone but claims a few victims along her journey due to her oni powers being unlocked. The phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” comes to mind, both in the dilemma Mariko faces and the character Reina is inspired by.

In contrast to the high levels of gore, Kirisaki Mountain is shown as a rather beautiful expanse of forest, with whole backgrounds shaded in the verdant green of fully blossomed trees and specks of green representing fallen leaves. Maher’s lettering also takes on different colors, from bright blue “PUAFFF” when Ocho changes shape to a dark red “SLISSH” that follows the strike of Mariko’s tanto blade. I’ve mentioned how visually striking Momoko’s art is before, but it’s especially true here; there’s a strange level of beauty in the violence within Cursed Web that you have to see to believe.

Demon Days: Cursed Web #1 continues Peach Momoko’s manga-infused take on the Marvel Universe with a tale drenched in blood and revenge. With the final one-shot set to debut in December, I hope that Momoko is able to return to this universe one day or take up artistic duties on another Marvel title. And I’m happy that between titles like Demon Days and Avengers: Tech-On, Marvel is embracing Japanese culture in its stories again.

Demon Days: Cursed Web #1 will be available on Wednesday, September 1st, wherever comics are sold.


Demon Days: Cursed Web #1

TL;DR

Demon Days: Cursed Web #1 continues Peach Momoko’s manga-infused take on the Marvel Universe with a tale drenched in blood and revenge. With the final one-shot set to debut in December, I hope that Momoko is able to return to this universe one day or take up artistic duties on another Marvel title. And I’m happy that between titles like Demon Days and Avengers: Tech-On, Marvel is embracing Japanese culture in its stories again.