"Right, mental note: never say that out loud … ever again" - Billy
Billy is playing some pool in the Club de Immortal when Satan decides time is up and unleashes Trenchie, Billy's half-brother Jeff, and a legion of lost souls, with the sole order of killing our chainsaw wielding Boy. Thankfully Billy's Guardian Angel is on hand to even up the odds, and Billy hasn't been hitting the martinis. Oh and the band played on, which judging from the lyrics isn't a good thing.
In a two pronged attack Satan takes the rest of the forces of hell and lays siege to heaven, having some tickets apparently helps. Seems Heaven's defences aren't as impregnable as we would have liked to think as the forces of darkness storm the pearly gates. Just when things seem to be at the lowest ebb possible for the forces of light a surprise twist throws a spanner in Satan's plans.
Hayden Fryer presents a two part finale to the first series of Billy Demonslayer as he attempts to tie and gag things and leave the Readership with a good feeling. Not entirely sure the first series hasn't drifted slightly in the second half of the delivery stride as the focus seems to have shifted from the first comic's revenge orientated goodness. Just goes to show Anti-Christs have low attention span. I would point out however that Fryer hasn't lost any of his characters as what amounts to a graphic novel moves into the end game.
There's something actually pretty satisfying about the forces of hell moving into your local, and no doubt souring the beer in the process. Here Fryer envisages his local as a sort of quintessential Aussie pub or perhaps RSL club prior to a 1970s make over. It's a slice of Australiana for those wondering where I'm going with this, and shows Fryer capturing a whole culture prior to it slipping under the terror of the "yuppie bar" syndrome that destroyed a lot of drinking holes in Sydney in the 1980s, looking at you Balmain. Anyways I leave it to the Reader to make the connection between the forces of hell and the advent of the pub pokie, clearly our Politicians haven't worked out the connection, probably too busy counting the tax dollars rolling in.
Having thrown in my very own divergence from anything like a review, back to the printed page and Armageddon as viewed through the demented comic book art of Hayden Fryer. Well it's nothing like what the Bible promised, can we sue for false advertising? Fryer views Armageddon as having been caused by Satan becoming pissed off with the situation and deciding, crime Lord fashion, to unleash his forces to get it sorted. Not a bad approach, and am enjoying the light hearted take on the end of times most religions, whether Christian, Islamic, Pagan, or Jedi, throw onto the table in a sort of mythical finale to things.
If I haven't mentioned it before, at least in this review, Fryer approaches everything with a light hearted feeling, so no you are not going to get down into the gore laden dark genre trenches. Plenty of Evil Dead style demonic shuffling of the deckchairs, but no out and out attempts to unhinge any Twilight fan that may have stumbled onto the comic because someone mistakenly filed Billy Demonslayer under the "Paranormal Romance" section. Hayden Fryer can deliver some deep and dark thoughts on the page, just not in this comic.
For anyone who has journeyed through Hayden Fryer's later books this early effort shows an Artist coming to grips with his style, nothing wrong with that yo, we all have to start somewhere and put it out there like a demented wombat on go juice. I'm including the various Reviewers, Site Designers, and Coders ScaryMinds seems to be unleashing. Actually forget the Coders, not seeing a lot of the fabled interaction stuff we were promised. Another digression, sorry kids, back to the meat and three veg. In this series we already get to see Hayden Fryer's style in a sort of Beta fashion, it's actually interesting for the comic geeks amongst us, and yes I'm looking at you, to compare the current books to this Hayden's first "graphic novel". Evolution is in the air, but I'm still hip to the simplistic approach in the book we're discussing, there are some nice touches and flourishes to be had. For example the Lost Souls are well conceived and work like a brought one. If you don't mind a bit of Naïve School in your comic meal then dial on in, Hayden Fryer is making every post a winner on that front even at this early stage.
So I'm cool with Armageddon Part 1 and surprisingly am now enticed to see how it all turns out in Part 2. The second series has already been reviewed at ScaryMinds so the proof in this particular pudding is how things are resolved to the satisfaction of the reader. I would recommend this comic to anyone who is trying to get their Australian Comic History on, Billy remains iconic and you should be following his exploits if you are fair dinkum about the genre. Think of Billy a sort of Downunder teenage Ash with a tad of Damien thrown in, now what's not to like about that concept?
Naturally I have no idea if Billy Demonslayer - Series 1 is currently available, Hayden Fryer sent us a review edition as it was cheaper than taking out a restraining order, but your best bet is to fire up the modem and hit the interwebs. Billy has his very own website, right about here. Siberian Productions are online and firing right about here. And apparently Hayden Fryer is a "prolific Australian comic book creator" but doesn't maintain a Blog. Please note we don't arse around with Faceborg, but you can probably get your Hayden on with a search through Twitter, sorry Aussie pronunciation Twidda apparently. That enough to entice you out into the new frontier? If not than I've just wasted a bunch of binary.