Billy, having learnt his father is the Devil, discovers old Scratch likes to drink at the Hell-Hole pub in Surrey Hills. If it's the one with topless barmaids then I've made that scene, or that could have been a dream that later required changing the sheets. Uhmm, moving along here. Anyway Billy makes the pub vowing to kill the Devil due to the death of his mother. Unfortunately our chainsaw wielding teen finds out there's a reason you don't down a bottle of martini, either shaken or stirred, before embarking on battling the force of darkness. Unless you're Bruce Campbell of course.
The Devil, working incognito in the face of an angry Billy to avoid any death issues, manages to make his escape while Deadus and a gang of Lost Souls wade into what promises to be one heck of a pub brawl. Betcha Jimmy Barnes was blasting on the jukebox at the time. Billy gets to use his new found saws one more time, Trenchie manages to miss the point, and Deadus is starting to really regret any contact with the Anti-Christ. Another explosive issue is upon us.
There's one very salient point to take from The Demon Pub, and it goes a long way to explaining some of the logic Author Hayden Fryer maintains throughout series one and two of Billy Demonslayer. A full blooded demon cannot kill a half blood demon, but the reverse doesn't hold true, a half blood demon can slay a full blood demon. Deadus may not have picked up on this little nugget, but the Devil explains it to Trenchie for the benefit of Readers. So if wondering why the Four horseman in the second series didn't simply involve themselves in a little satanic assassination, then that's your reasoning. Don't you hate it when someone covers what you might think of as a plot hole with a perfectly logical reasoning? - suck it up folks, Hayden Fryer has his bases covered. Actually two thumbs up to a Writer that keeps things honest to the mythos and world he has created, without finding the need to change things up because the script required it.
Clearly Issue #2 is spending a lot more time on the gags than the previous issue, which needed to take time out if it's agenda in order to set up the fundamental conflict, the Devil indirectly caused the death of Billy's mother hence is in the Anti-Christ's sights. The whole underlying concept of The Demon Pub screams out “the demon drink”, one of the early Colonial targets of religious types in this part of the world. So while reading the comic and grooving on to the continuous stream of one liners and sight gags, bare in mind that the whole Issue is a sort of shaggy dog story that doesn't actually deliver on a punchline. Whether or not this was Hayden Fryer's intended purpose remains moot, as the whole situation lends itself to that sort of interpretation anyway, and that's the one I'm going to take. Must interview Fryer and get to the bottle of this issue before those bleeding heart small "l" liberals over at Four Corners beat me to it!
And just in case you think Hayden Fryer isn't tending the subtle meanings in the actual panels, I would point to one where Deadus is confronted by Billy and embarrasses himself and all demon kind. No I'm talking number ones here, even Fryer isn't going to go the full monty on the nervous discharges. Though it would have lead to a cool joke about the brown stuff hitting the nearest fan. Once again Hayden Fryer demonstrates an ability to illustrate his script without needing surplus panels or details in the actual panels used that distract from the story being told. It's a commanding performance from behind the pen, with the art being a lot harder to achieve than would initial seem to be the case. Guess the closest I can come to describing the panels would be those single panels people like Andy Warhol held up as great examples of modern American popular culture. There's a stream lined approach being taken without the need for over elaboration.
Perhaps one of the few issues I could raise with the first couple of comics in Series 1, and we do tend to have to raise some issues else people thing we're not doing our job, is perhaps a few too many characters being introduced early in the series without time being taken to adequately explain who or what they are. There's a tad too may henchmen running around for my liking, but no doubt things will become clear as we delve deeper into the series. And with that I can quite happily claim I've done my job yo.
While Billy Demonslayer might not be to everyones' taste, I certainly am having a good time with the outlandish plot and constant barrage of one liners. You have to appreciate some risk taking backed by talent, and if you don't then stick to cookie cutter shite like Twilight and stop reading this site, with Hayden Fryer delivering on both counts. Billy Demonslayer has a place in the mythos of Australian dark genre comics, and rightfully so. I'm digging Series 1, and end of day if you personally can get your Billy on then that's all that matters Bro. Have a dial in and tell me what you all think.
I was hoping to bring you a cool Hayden Fryer site, but I couldn't find one so here's Fryer doing the twelve year old chick thing on Faceborg, we all go a little crazy sometimes.