Father Malcolm, a skeptical reporter, and a group of supernaturally powered (or at least tuned) exorcists/supernatural fighters representing every faith in the book are reunited by Cardinal David Michal Reed ("Chief Exorcist for the Catholic Church") to defend the world against the demonic beast that resides beneath The Vatican. A demonic beast with whom The Vatican's negotiations have just broken down with and is now flooding demonic creatures into the world. Fortunately, the regular run of humankind cannot see them, but Malcolm and company can definitely see them...perhaps all to well.
With plenty of smart commentary on religion, evil, and the evil that men do, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk's Run, I, Vampire) and artist Matt Triano (Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths and Legends, Sherlock Holmes The Liverpool Demon) unleash The Devilers upon the comic book reading public, and, wow, is it better for it. Fialkov's dysfunctional group of exorcists appears, at least topically, to be full of enough wayward back story and angst to make Chris Claremont proud, i.e. The Devilers, after only one issue, appears to have the potential to take the best of the X-Men's oft dysfunctional team dynamic, Hellblazer's (not Constantine's) supernatural shenanigans, and and the kind of demonic ugliness we haven't seen since Guy Davis' The Marquis, and roll it all into a new series with so much potential it just oozes with it.
Introducing all these elements and getting them to mesh coherently in the first issue of a series is no small feat, and Fialkov pulls it off easily. The quick and somewhat cumbersome introduction of the rest of the team is a little stunted, but the time devoted to main Deviler protagonist Father Malcolm sets up the book's tone perfectly. Malcolm's origin tale is unique to say the least, and his attitude toward the supernatural is quizzical at best, but the reader can't help but want to know more about this team's default leader. Herein is where Fialkov delivers the master stroke, and the needed one for any new serialized story: he gets you to want to read more.
Artist Matt Triano conjures up some of the most gross looking demonic entities we've seen in quite a while. No dashing devils here. Just twisted mounds (and mouths) of burning flesh and blood. Sometimes though, as the final page reveal of The Beast demonstrates, the demons are a little too undefined to really be anything too horrific. This might actually be because of the restrictions that Triano is laboring under. One gets the sense that he really want's to cut loose, but has to keep the goriness under control. One of his demons is a naked female, and of course the flames that dance around her just happen to flicker over three distinct anatomical areas. Dynamite isn't looking for The Devilers to be a "Mature Readers Only" book though, so we'll just have to put up with Triano's well placed flames...and tentacles...
Overall, The Devilers has all the makings of an engaging long term read. For those of you looking for something a little different, and maybe a little smarter, The Devilers might be for you.