In the occult realm of Qliphoth, Amos Deathridge is a jailer, that is, he defeats daemons who bring evil and sinister forces to Earth. 10 invisible worlds make up the Qliphoth, and are connected by arcane tunnels, making the Tree of Death. We follow Amos as he makes his way through Sathariel, the third sphere of Qliphoth, as he looks for the path to Lilith. In between check-ins with Amos, we see his past life experiences, like accusing and killing a woman in Ipswich, Mass. (1649) for supposed witchcraft.
There are a few things that catch my eye in this issue. We all know I’m a little more than interested in the horror genre, so the supernatural theme of demons and/or witches is incredible appealing. Being someone who has studied astronomy, I strongly believe in the possibility of alternate dimensions, too. The physics behind this book is really interesting to look into, so that alone drew me in.
Amos serves as the issue’s narrator, which is a really great way to allow readers to see what he is thinking of any given situation. To be completely honest, I’m a little confused after having read this issue. I’m not too sure what the witch hanging has to do with the current storyline or Amos’ life as it is at the present time. I’m sure, though, we will come to find out. At least I hope so. Right now it seems like a simple introduction as to how Amos got into the demon hunting business. Gunstone’s witch trial is happening just as the fad of witch hunting met New England, around 1645 (the infamous Salem Witch Trials occurred over 40 years later). So, it seems as if Amos Deathridge is another version of Matthew Hopkins—but again, we’ll have to wait to see if that theory pans out.
There isn’t all too much characterization in this first issue aside from Amos’ determination showing through more than the expression on some faces! This guy is treading through a Hell, life on the line, and he knows it. Gunstone has created a strong protagonist here, but honestly, I want to see something break him. Part of me loves what Amos is doing for the world, but part of me hates him for being a bigot that killed an old woman. When any character can make me feel conflicted about anything, the writer has done their job.
Artist Paul Moore’s illustrations do justice to the writing, but aren’t as detailed as I would like. When the script of any comic is this strong and brings to mind everything from ethics to physics, the artwork needs to reflect that conviction. Although there is some emotion shown in facial expressions and body language, the art style makes it so that a lot of that is muted or dulled down. I will say, though, that the messy line work fits the chaos in the script, or, in Qliphoth. The realistic colors also help keep the dark tone of the issue present the whole way though. Heavy shadows help reinforce the evil of Qliphoth and remind us of the looming danger.
This is a great premiere issue to start the series. Writer Kevin Gunstone has a sophisticated way about writing the script, jumping back and forth from time periods to create a cinematic effect for readers to enjoy. For anyone who likes a story that’ll make you think, this issue is a must-read.
Written by: Kevin Gunstone
Illustrated by: Paul Moore