(RNS) There’s never a better time for a bunch of holy avengers than when all hell actually breaks loose.

The world's top exorcists form a supergroup to take on various hellspawn in "The Devilers."

The world’s top exorcists form a supergroup to take on various hellspawn in “The Devilers.” Image courtesy Matt Triano/Dynamite Entertainment

The Dynamite Entertainment series The Devilers debuts Wednesday (July 16) as an action-packed supernatural comic book full of demonic beasties, big-picture philosophies and heroes that have to put religious differences aside in order to save Vatican City – and the world – from being turned into brimstone.

“When suddenly it’s ‘Oh that is a giant hellmouth that opened up in front of me,’ that changes your beliefs,” said series writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker, The Life After), who’s doing the The Devilers alongside artist Matt Triano.

The main conceit behind The Devilers is the Catholic Church, which has had an armistice with Satan’s forces for hundreds of years to keep the demonic element downstairs, but not surprisingly the deal doesn’t hold. Horrific creatures arise when they stop caring about what mankind and the heavenly host can do to them, thereby beginning a new war on Earth.

Father Malcolm O’Rourke, whose faith has waned since having an otherworldly encounter as a child, is called into action by the church’s head exorcist, Cardinal Michael David Reed, as well as other potential saviors from all over the world.

Every issue of Devilers focuses on a different character in the group, which includes Mossad agent and rabbi Brenda Davide, a pro at revealing true evil; the tricky and persuasive Samir Patel; Raab Al-Fayed, a noted demonologist who controls a powerful entity; Chun-Bai, a woman able to bend nature to her will; and the teleporting man-bear demon Rex.

“As we’re discovering the world, each of them is discovering the world, too, and you get a sense of who they are that way,” said Fialkov, adding that the team readers meet in the first issue may not be there going forward.

The cardinal is a pretty hardcore sort but he in a sense reflects the stakes involved with the hellish situation.

“You can have dogma as much as you like, but when the rubber hits the road, you have to be practical,” Fialkov said.

Even though he had a childhood experience that for most people would be proof positive that there are higher powers at work, Malcolm, the priest and exorcist, is still more practical than spiritual.

“He’s had time soften the one thing that really gave him faith, but now suddenly it’s jammed in front of his face,” Fialkov said. “There’s no arguing with the things he sees.”

While the Devilers has a philosophical side, it’s still as big and crazy as a 1970s X-Men comic, according to Fialkov.

Fialkov’s I, Vampire series for DC Comics merged vampires and a monster world into a landscape of superheroes, and he’s trying to do something similar with The Devilers, an inherently dark book that’s more funny than bleak.

Triano illustrates a frog flipping off the cardinal in the first issue, and the holy man tells an atheist who gets a little too close to Rex, “Don’t kick the demon, son.” “That’s just me being me,” Fialkov said. “Anytime anything feels pretentious, I have to take the wind out of the sails.”

The next couple of issues feature the protagonists journeying through hell, “literally heading toward Satan’s throne room,” Fialkov said. “But the question is, who’s actually sitting on that throne? It might be a surprise.”

(Brian Truitt writes for USA Today.)

YS END TRUITT

11 Comments

    • Now I know you are a Poe!

      You almost had us fooled for a minute. But everyone knows Kwik Stops are run by Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. One won’t find Jack Chick over there. :)

  1. There is no place of fiery torment forever since hell, commonly translated as Sheol in the Old Testament and Hades in the
    New Testament, is the common grave of mankind (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10), where the dead of both good and bad persons are “sleeping in death” (John 11:1,11-14) and are not conscious of anything at all.

    In addition, Romans 6:7 brings out that “A man that is dead has been freed from sin”, so there is no further punishment for sin exacted after death.

    The lake of fire and Gehenna are symbols of everlasting destruction, and not eternal torment, of wicked ones, including Satan and his demons (Revelation 20:10; 13-18; 21:8), with no hope of resurrection back to life.

    • Dear Fran

      You probably know the Bible better than I do, but I am fairly sure that the largest and most influential Christian groups have always taught eternal torment for the damned. There have are Bible readers who believe as you do, but they are a minority. A while ago a prominent mega-church pastor decided that he did not believe in eternal hell anymore, and the sky fell on him. I do believe it is a serious heresy (I flunked religion a long time ago.).

      Best wishes

      • Dudley,

        It’s a very sad situation that many religions teach a fiery place of torment, since the Bible teaches us the condition of the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). That teaching may be the result of many becoming atheists or agnostics in our day.

        Also, after God rendered judgment to Adam and Eve for their disobedience and sinning against God, God told them that they would return to the ground, for from dust they were and to dust they would return (Genesis 3:19). God did not tell them they would be tormented forever.

        In addition, there is the fact that God is love (1 John 4:8), and the act of fiery torment forever goes against his personality. God is very just in destroying the wicked ones who do not repent and turn their lives around, as in the days of Noah, but he brought their lives to an end, and they died with no hope of resurrection. They also did not face eternal torment after death.

        Many people believe the parable Jesus gave of the rich man and Lazarus was literal but it was a parable telling a story or morals about a certain situation. That parable was about the religious leaders in Jesus’ day (the rich man class) who enjoyed a very rich and prestigious position and burdened the common people then (the Lazarus class ) with their burdensome man-made traditions. The parable was about a change in position, where the religious leaders would no longer be in a favored position with God but the common people would be favored by God, who hungered for spiritual food, which Jesus would provide them with, and was not provided by the religious leaders of his day. This was not about a literal place of torment.

        It appears that we have the same situation today as in Jesus’ day; that people are hungering for Bible truths but are being taught man-made traditions instead of truths by today’s religions.

        God is so loving toward mankind that he also promises those we have lost to death have the hope of resurrection back to life on earth, just as Jesus resurrected Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for 4 days (John 11:1-44). That resurrection hope is brought out at Acts 24:15 and John 5:28,29, and will be realized during Jesus’ millenial rule from God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) in the near future.

        What did you mean about the sky falling on the pastor after he said he did not believe in eternal hell anymore? What happened to him?

        • His name is Rob Bell. He was much criticized, and resigned his pulpit.

          He suffered no physical harm.

          You can look up Rob Bell on google.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-jonathan-weyer/rob-bell-vs-john-piper-do_b_829956.html

          Best Wishes

          • Dudley,

            Thanks for your reply!! I had never heard of that situation regarding the pastor; however, I believe 100% that there is not a place of fiery torment forever. It appears that humans are more judgmental about tormenting the wicked ones than God is!!

            Best wishes to you as well!!!!! :-)

            Fran

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