Sit down and let me tell you about two stories within one comic…
So this week the final issue of the current SPN comic line comes out, telling us whether this ride has all been worth it or not…
No, no it hasn’t.
If anything, this comic is one giant middle finger to the fans.
Man I haven’t been mad at a comic this much since Captain America’s last few issues. In fact, I’m so angry, let’s just go through it page by page shall we?
First page starts off with John & Dean breaking through a fence and hot wiring a boat. As it starts, they startle a couple of seabirds.
Umm… I’m pretty sure seabirds are not nocturnal (and it’s obviously night here).
Second page Sam is getting the motivation and Bond villain speech from the bad guy that stole him. Why is John Dee’s (the villain) role? Well he’s a demon tour guide. Even though it’s been established before that demons can draw information from the minds of people they are possessing.
Third page the villain performs the ritual to summon Azazel without using the symbol or candle as demonstrated by John in “My time of dying”. The demon appears, killing the villain’s mooks (why? Azazel always appreciates good minions) and talks to the villain without form, only yellow eyes. Even though Azazel has been shown to be a black smoke form naturally. And he needs to posses someone to talk.
Fourth page, John & Dean break the building (too bad all the mooks are dead and not guarding) and the villain names his terms to Azazel… before dying of a graphic headshot.
Ok, that was pretty cool. Shame we hunted for him for 5 issues only to have him die in 4 pages.
Page 5, John checks on Sam only to discover he’s possessed by the YED. Possessed Sam say “Sam’s still in here. We’re gettin’ to know each other real well.”
Remember what I said earlier about the concept of a “tour guide” for demons being a bad idea? Don’t you love it when a comic violates it’s own continuity? Oh, and Sam – being possessed by Azazel and “getting to know him”? Do I even have to point out how many levels of wrong that is? Just spit on seasons 1 & 2 why don’t you.
Page 6: John – “Get out of my Son!” YED – “Save the empty threats Johnny. You’re not gonna plug one of your pups, and we both know it.” Oh, except for issue 4 WHERE JOHN WINCHESTER SHOT SAM! So now the storyline wants to be in character for John? Oh yeah, and regular shots won’t do anything to a demon anyway. You need salt shells to stop them, which has the benefit of not severely injuring the host. So John could now plug Sam without consequence if he was packing salt.
Page 7: The demon decides to punish John and touches his head, causing John to have visions. Yeah… not a power of Azazel or demons in SPN. That’s an angel trick.
Page 8: John watches Sam get stabbed in the back at the end of “All Hell Breaks Loose part 1” as recreated in comic form. Then we see Dean attacked by a dog. Yep, the hell hounds are visible in the comic for the end of “No Rest for the Wicked”.
Page 9: What’s going on? Why the YED is showing what’s to com. Quote: “Those boys of yours… they’re going to suffer. They’re gonna hurt, and scream and burn.” [sic] FORESIGHT WAS NOT A POWER OF AZAZEL. If it is, shouldn’t he have seen Dean shooting him in the graveyard? So much of Azazel’s actions ONLY make sense if he doesn’t know what the future holds.
But I’m sure you’re already saying: “But Nate, how do we know this is Azazel? Maybe hit is some other demon.” Except for page 10. Panel 1: “It’s you.” says a woman. Panel 3: “This… this is the night Mary died.” -John “Wrong.” -YED. Panel 4: “This is the night I KILLED HER.” -YED Confirmation: this is Azazel.
Page 11 has John pulling out a knife. Possessed Sam says, “Where’s the cold-blooded bad-ass that’s got every monster from sea to shining sea scared crapless?” You know what would have been great? If these comics had been used to SHOW us John earning his reputation instead of all this shitting upon the SPN mythos. Oh, and John stabs himself in the chest.
Then on page 12 we have John reciting some Latin, causing the demon to pour out of Sam and into John as… black smoke. (gee, what happened to the fire and giant eyes we saw earlier?) Also, a ritual that forces possession? Total suckitude and violation of SPN’s spirit.
Page 13 John asks Dean to shoot him and his body will be the demon’s cage. Wait… what? That’s gotta be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Why haven’t the boys ever used this before? Especially to trap some problematic demons like Alastair or Meg. Oh wait, demons animate even dead bodies. Why would killing John suddenly be different?
From page 14 to the end, the comic suddenly gets good. We actually have some character moments here, were John admits he thinks Sam is more suited to be a hunter whereas Dean is a little too soft. All in all, it’s not too bad, except for pretty much ruining season 1. “What we went up against back there is a demon, Dean. A powerful one.” Remember how the grand mystery of season 1 was trying to figure out what killed mom? And finally learning what it was spooked John so bad he pretty much vanished from the face of the earth? I know it wasn’t a great season, but there was a lot of charm to it and you can’t just do a half-ass’d retcon like this. Then the comic suddenly cares about continuity and we get the exact words of Sam and John as Sam leaves (which is accurate) as well as one line that is kind of funny. “And when we find that yellow-eyed bastard, it won’t matter if it’s my life on the line… …Sam will pull the trigger.” -John. Except if you were so sure about that John, you could summon Azazel right now (Sam heard the ritual), perform the trick you pulled earlier and get Sam to shoot you and be done today.
So the comic ends with Dean sitting alone.
All in all, the character stuff at the end was quite good, but not enough to lift the rest of the comic from the crap hole it dug itself in. Newsflash to Kripke and the rest of the SPN institute: We don’t need more contributions to the myth arc. The show explored it and explained it pretty well. Use comics, novels, etc to tell stories you can’t tell with the show. I know I ranked myth episodes higher than MotW ones but they worked slightly better in sequential, TV format. Monster of the Week work best in comic and novel form. Just accept it and have fun with it.
If the comic hadn’t closed out with such great characterization, I would have given this a score of 0. Just pick up issue 3 and ignore the rest from this headache.