“Blue Devil” by Gary Cohn Review


Blue Devil

Author: Gary Cohn

Release Date: 1984

This is a review for issues 1-31 of this series. Blue Devil centers around a Hollywood Special Effects guru/stuntman (there’s your first example that this is fantasy) who builds a costume that gives him infrared sight, super hearing, additional size and strength for a movie. While filming the movie, a co-star accidentally releases a real demon who zaps Daniel Cassidy (the protagonist) with demon energy and traps him inside the suit as a real demon. At first Cassidy is reluctant to be a hero, only getting involved when something threatens his friends directly (this happens pretty much in all 31 issues) but by the end of the series he is much more willing to just be a hero.

The supporting cast of this book is pretty mediocre. There’s a pretty blonde that is his girlfriend, an egomaniac named Wayne who gets into trouble, a seemingly 10 year old named Gopher who becomes his sidekick Kid Devil, and a few movie executives who fade into the background after the first few issues only to resurface sporadically. The villains are likewise mostly not memorable. Nephiros gets some benefit by being in the first issue, adding to the origin and thwarting Zatanna later on. Trickster (from Flash’s rogues gallery) is a recurring character here, though as a 60/40 good guy.

The tone of this book is definitely farce. There is routinely no explanation for why villains are attacking Blue Devil, until it becomes a joke that he is a weirdness magnet. Eventually that becomes the actual explanation for the seemingly disjointed storyline. Most of the series is stories completed in one issue (which I’m a fan of), with a few high points being issues 1 and 5 (Nephiros) and issue 26, a gargoyle/baseball hybrid story that I loved. Issue 25 was one of the worst comics I’ve read in a long time, a St. Patrick’s day adventure that felt like it was written when the author was on crystal meth.

I became interested in this character because of his role in Shadowpact. That series was one of the best magic based series in comics, and there were a few things here that felt like they had the same spirit of that book (Blue Devil’s house had a gateway across the country, Imps sometimes came through and caused problems, etc.) . While by no means an amazing series, I had a lot of fun reading most of it and am glad I stuck with it as for the most part it got better as it went on. According to the letters page the editors were taking this book into a new, more serious direction upon its cancellation. This book could have benefited from a change of direction to shake it up, and maybe that darker direction could be a fun way to reboot the series, now 30+ years later on.



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