“I'm gonna get all Chuck Norris on your arse” - Billy
Billy is back to his senses and rearing to go, which just happens to involve taking the battle to Hell itself. Meanwhile down in the Underworld Deadus is back reading the Bard, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are happy with how things are going, and Mummu is on the ascension thing. About the only people who are not happy are Loren and Blake, Blake succumbing to the rigours of the mist, and Trenchie who is miffed that no one views him as a demon.
With possessed townsfolk walking the streets of the underworld, inter-dimensional visitors, and someone mentioning the Antichrist, it's up to Billy to do a Marduk and fight through the possessed and mists of terror to confront the ultimate evil in Mummu. But will Deadus or Trenchie have other ideas?
The penultimate issue of any graphic novel, and I guess given the length of series 2 of Billy Demonslayer we are talking graphic novel here, involves a whole bunch of stuff that has to be exactly right in order for the novel to be considered a success overall. Hayden Fryer here hits all the right marks, like getting the main protagonists into play and keeping some tricks up his sleeve, which should result in a great final issue. While to a certain degree Rise From The Deep can be viewed as a filler issue, it was a necessary release in order to move the plot along toward the conclusion. On the bright side of the chainsaw we aren't getting any shortcuts or liberties taken with the plot, Fryer has thus far avoided writing himself into a corner, and we should get full value for money when the dust settles after the final much anticipated confrontation.
Hayden Fryer pulls off a couple of winks to the Reader in Rise From The Deep that should bring a smile to the face of horror and pop culture fans alike. Having pulled out his hand blades Billy exclaims “groovy”, if you need a more detailed description of the reference then you are on the wrong site and should search out the term “boomstick” on the internet stat! Billy also exclaims “saved by the blade” that I took to be a direct nod to Saved by the Bell, though that might be stretching things. Anyway where were we, in the underworld, moving along.
To a certain extent Rise From The Deep sees series two of Billy Demonslayer turning full circle and returning to the situation Marduk found himself in during the prologue issue of the series. Billy confronted by the mists of doom and possessed townsfolk after blood in time honoured trad zom fashion, might as well be Marduk venturing into his valley of darkness for a final confrontation with evil. In both cases, Billy and Marduk, our heroes are fighting for the survival of their villages. The addition of Deadus, Trenchie, the four horsemen, etc are an added bonus and of course are required as things are a lot more complex in the modern age than they were back when Conan was battling giant snakes and the like. I'm always up for any horror outing that references the past in a meaningful fashion. Big thumbs up to Hayden Fryer on this front.
I've already mentioned that Fryer keeps things light hearted with the injection of humour in previous reviews of series two, so just take it as read (no pun intended) that the same applies to the current issue we're discussing.
There's the odd moment in Rise From The Deep where Fryer goes off the reservation and indicates that the conclusion may not be be the expected confrontation between Billy and Mummu that series two has been gearing toward. Firstly Trenchie may yet have some larger role to play, considering he is currently not best pleased with the Underworld. And what the hell was with the sudden inclusion of the Sawyer and Bones characters? Okay that second bit might be a wink to another Aussie comic series, darned if people don't do that down here from time to time, but you still have to wonder about the departure from the plot. I'm actually hoping for the Billy v Mummy confrontation, that has something to do with Lauren and Blake being “consolidated”, Billy could have his work cut out there.
As we have come to expect with each issue of Billy Demonslayer series two, the extras are well worth a look at the back of the comic. Have I mentioned the “Where Are They Now?” recap before? It kind of covers minor characters and what happened to them, or on occasion major characters that weren't reference during the current issue. Worth a read for those who like closure on every single freaking aspect of a story. And of course we get a one page short comic for those wanting dessert, this time some manga enters the equation.
Penultimate issue and Hayden Fryer has nailed it. Some nice plot developments, continuations of previous arcs, and of course the whole history repeating thing. Rise From The Deep sets us up nicely for the final confrontation and I for one can't wait to see how this one plays out. Recommended, go grab yourself three copies to ensure you don't miss a single panel of Billy Demonslayer mayhem!
To get your Billy on check the official site where you can either purchase individual issues or the entire series in one go. $3.50 an issue folks, that's less than a beer and it lasts longer as well.
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> Hayden Fryer sets up his final issue as things start coming to a head.