Demon Days was one of the best comic book series that Marvel put out in recent years. Peach Momoko is now continuing the Demon Days Marvel Universe with a new series of one-shots under the Demon Wars Saga banner. This new series of one-shots is adapting the Civil War event within the Demon Days Marvel Universe. The first issue in the Demon Wars series saw Mariko introduced to more characters that are mythical versions of Iron Man and Falcon. With sides being clearly made as the mystical realm prepares for its own Civil War event what side will Mariko fall on? Let’s find out with Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1.
Writer & Artist: Peach Momoko
Co-Script: Zack Davisson
Designer: Jay Bowen
Lettering: Ariana Maher
After getting pulled back into the Ikai realm Mariko Yashida is confronted by Yamato (Demon Days’ Captain America) and Nekomata (Demon Days’ Black Panther). When Mariko refuses to hand over the Hanpo Jaw Armor something takes over Yamato and he attacks Mariko.
Bake-Yoroi (Demon Days’ Iron Man), Kumosuke (Demon Days’ Spider-Man), and Oami show up to save Mariko with Bake-Yoroi staying behind to fight Yamato and Nekomata alone.
Back in the village, Mariko mentions to Kumosuke and Oami that she sensed the same Oni inside her (Kigandoshi who is Demon Days Carnage symbiote) within Yamato.
In the forest killing Bake-Yoroi, leaving only his armor behind Nekomata comments that no one will follow a leader that slaughters like Yamato seems to want to do.
Inside Kirisaki Mountain battle against a freed Kigandoshi is being had with Hayabusa.
After Kumosuke finds Bake-Yoroi’s armor he confronts Yamato. While radiating Kigandoshi’s aura Yamato tells Kumosuke to tell Mariko if she wants to find the truth to go find it inside Kirisaki Mountain.
When a heavily injured Kumosuke returns to the village there is a rush to reforge Mariko’s sword so she can fight Yamato and the Kigandoshi’s Curse.
When Mariko hears the Kigandshi’s Curse she is suddenly returned to her classroom alone. When she goes to the courtyard Mariko finds her katana embedded into the ground. End of issue.
As soon as you open Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1 there is a magic feeling that this comic is unlike anything else Marvel is publishing. It’s the magic that Peach Momoko has captured with this entire universe and it is an absolute pleasure to read.
No doubt what makes Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1 such a pleasure to read through is how the artwork and dialogue work together. Momoko along with Zack Davisson and Jay Bowen has a strong understanding of how each has to complement the other. That includes having panels where Momoko simply has character development shown through the way characters react or move.
A great example of Momoko’s ability to develop a character through the artwork is Kumosuke, this universe version of Spider-Man. Kumosuke has very little dialogue but is given plenty of character with his design and the way he moves throughout this issue. Kumosuke taking off in the background to check on Bake-Yoroi after making sure Mariko was safe is a great example of this. This type of character development when we did see Kumosuke speak during his fight with Yamato have an even greater impact.
Speaking of, by far the standout character in this was Yamato, Captain America’s Demon Days counterpart. I appreciate that Momoko did not try to hide a big mystery about what is going around Yamato. Yamato is clearly possessed or possibly a descendant of Kigandoshi like Mariko is which is causing him to act out in a way that even surprises Nekomata. Creating this connection between Mariko and Yamato makes the Civil War-like conflict have more personal stakes to it.
Adding to the intensity of the upcoming Demon War is the fact that Yamato and Nekomata killed Bake- Yoroi. This immediately ups the stakes to what is going on as the Ikai have lost their leader. This makes things more desperate for the Ikai side as now they are in a rush to have Mariko replace their leader so they don’t fall to the Yamato Clan.
At the same time, while Nekomata did help Yamato kill Bake-Yoroi we saw that Nekomata isn’t completely on Yamato’s side. Specifically seeing the bloodlust that Yamato is suddenly leaning into we see that does not sit well with Nekomata. This creates another angle in this story for Momoko to explore as we get more into the different dynamics of the characters in this world.
The one thing that didn’t work as intended in Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1 was the ending with Mariko somehow ending up back in her world. While it is a mystery as to how she ended up there again, why she was alone, and how her katana was on the ground it didn’t flow well with the rest of the issue. It just came across as an abrupt change to give Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1 a hook ending rather than a natural progression to the story. Hopefully, the next issue does a better job of following up on this to make the mystery around Mariko’s current situation stronger.
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Demon Wars: Shield Of Justice #1 continues to showcase why Peach Momoko’s Marvel Universe is one of the most unique and fascinating reading experiences Marvel is publishing right now. How Momoko reimagines Marvel characters and a storyline like Civil War with Japanese folklore is a pleasure to experience.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10