Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Sebastián Píriz
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Syd Miller and Ellen Blair are the world’s two premier combat exorcists. The only problem? After a nuclear breakup years ago, they can’t stand each other. But when the biggest soul auction in history kicks off beneath Los Angeles, Syd and Ellen have no choice but to come together to raid the HELLSCRAPER, an infernal tower going straight down into the Earth. With thousands of souls on the line, Syd and Ellen must fight their way to the bottom or die trying.
Every once in a while you come across that comic that just grabs you by the junk and demands your attention. That’s what Orlando, Píriz, and Mangual have accomplished here. Just heaping handfuls of my misters while screaming in my face, “We’re building a world here!” Needless to say, they got my attention.
This first issue doesn’t just dip your toes in this battle-filled world of demons, battle exorcists, and biblically accurate angels. Oh no, they push you into the deep end. You’re submerged into a world where you quickly understand there are supernatural forces battling for your soul. Demons show up on Earth to take it, whereas The Almighty and His forces employ the use of the aforementioned battle exorcists. Think of them as Christian-based kung-fu monks whose special moves are called God Flows that call upon the power of angels to vanquish their foes. If you’re into Dungeons & Dragons, they are a multiclass cleric/monk/paladin who calls on their divine powers through marital arts forms. Overall, it’s a great concept that hooked me very quickly. The heroes are battling their way down the levels of an office building through hoards of zombies and the Seven Deadly Sins of Man to stop something called a “soul auction.”
Steve Orlando does an excellent job of both confusing the reader, at first, with dialog that lets you know there is a must bigger world out there but gives you just enough to hang on. It reminded me of the first 20 minutes or so of the movie Constantine. You know there is so much you don’t know but the writer is giving you just what you need at the time. It works, and it works well.
The art by Sebastián Píriz has the difficult task of mixing horror elements, religious imagery, and high-octane action. He does it well! There is an eerie feeling to the landscapes, the character designs are interesting and the action flows well. Where Píriz really shines is his depiction of angels and demons. They have a level of shock and awe for the angels and vileness for demons that hits in all the right spots.
Bottom Line: Exorcists Never Die #1 could be the start of something special. We all saw how Nextflix butchard the Warrior Nun comics adaptation, this could be a replacement in the “battle Christian” genre. One thing is for sure, I want to read the next seven to ten issues.