One of the most exciting names in comics makes her unique mark on the Marvel Universe as Peach Momoko bring us Demon Days. A wandering swordswoman with a psychic blade arrives at a village targeted by demons. One is black and white with a horrifying tongue, and another may be the strongest demon there is! Mariko Yashida hears mysterious voices and has strange dreams that feel real. Maybe her redheaded maid who dresses all in black might know more than she lets on? But as Mariko embarks on a wondrous journey, deadly creatures lurk in the woods – including a mysterious, blue-skinned woman and a giant with super-strength and claws!
In the past few years, Japanese artist Peach Momoko has become something of a mega star in the comics world. Following her debut work at Heavy Metal, she became a highly sought-after cover artist having worked on covers for Marvel, DC, Image, IDW, Dynamite and Boom. Collectors could not get enough of her covers and many of them lead to the comics themselves becoming highly elusive. At the end of 2020, she signed an exclusive with Marvel as part of their Stormbreakers line-up of artists and now regularly provides variant covers. The best thing to come out of this exclusive deal though was her first full length interior work for a western publisher which is even better than you’d expect.
Demon Days is a uniquely flavoured Japanese reimagining of various Marvel characters. There have been various manga-inspired versions of the Marvel Universe, but this has to be one of the most authentic. Momoko presents various takes on classic characters including Psylocke, The Hulk, Thor, Venom, Black Widow and more where she uses Japanese folklore to create unique and imaginative interpretations. Psylocke and her wolf companion Logan are particularly striking whilst the Hulk is the perfect choice to be reinvented as a yokai.
Holding the story together is Mariko Yashida. Unlike the doomed lover of Wolverine in the main Marvel Universe, this is a Mariko who – despite being the daughter of a powerful oni (a demon from Japanese folklore) – has been raised to be wary of such creatures. This brings her into conflict with not only her sister, but her caretaker (this world’s Black Widow) who seems to have split loyalties. English adaptor and scripter Zack Davisson does a brilliant job of translating these ideas and giving voice to these characters.
But as you’d expect from Momoko, the main highlight is the art. Every page is in stunning water colour and is some of the best you’ll see in comics today. As someone lucky enough to see her paint in person, I can confirm there is an insane amount of effort that goes into every piece of art she does. You can tell this just from looking at a single panel. If you’re someone who has only experienced her cover work, you are in for a treat as her sequential storytelling skills are something to behold. Additionally, the character designs are top-notch with Psylocke (already having inspired several cosplayers) being a particular standout, the yokai version of Venom being absolutely terrifying and – once again – the Hulk’s yokai form being a tremendous visual (frightening and hilarious at the same time).
This is one of the most stunning pieces of comic work from any publisher this year. Fans of Momoko owe it to themselves to have this in their collection and anyone who only knows her from her amazing cover work need to see how beautiful her sequential work is.
Demon Days Treasury Edition is out 24 May from Marvel (9781302930110, p/b, £29.50)
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