Review - Rage: Bane of Demons

"Yes...even from here, I can feel his power. Gods, I wish I wouldn't be forced to free such a calamity on men!"

In humanity's darkest hour, we often turn to the unlikeliest of allies. Sometimes, those allies include a force so unstoppable that it must be contained for the safety of everyone. Releasing that force for protection is never the best of ideas, but sometimes it must be done and is the story behind Rage: Bane of Demons.

The work is written by Eric Peyron, illustrated by Thony Silas and lettered by Steve Wands.

As demons are wont to do in times of yore, many of them have been released from the depths of Hell to conquer Earth and dominate humanity. Watching this war, the Gods decided to make divine creatures to intervene, starting with Raaj. Raaj slaughtered every demon he could find without mercy. Then, seeing no more demons to fight, Raaj began to slaughter humans too. Appalled by the acts of their creature, whom humans came to call "Rage," Gods descended to Earth and imprisoned him in the heart of a mountain.

Thousands of years have passed, and demons have now begun to reappear on Earth. Master Demon Torg has conquered one of the fortresses of King Kothas, Lord of the Kingdom of Arthkan. After having slaughtered entire armies, Torg is asking for supplies and sacrifices. Knowing about the Legend of Rage, King Kothas orders High Mage Nicodemus to mount an expedition to the mountain where Rage has been imprisoned. And to free him.

At the start, it's made pretty clear this book will go to some fairly far-out places. Peyron has written what amounts to a Conan tale with some Greek mythology and Arthurian magic mixed in for good measure. The result is a journey book that takes all the key players through some fairly rough terrain right into the heart of the demon's lair. It's a tale that's not exactly original, but Peyron manages to spice it up by presenting Rage as an immensely powerful (and feared) character being held in check by an aged wizard. There's some inherent suspense in wondering whether or not Nicodemus will manage to maintain his control on Rage or not.

Silas' art is very well done. His work looks like chalk drawings, yet despite that all the characters are properly scaled to one another and showcase a fair amount of detail. Settings are there for context, but they're not given complete attention. This affords the reader the chance to take in the characters in all their glory, including an incredibly mountainous Rage. Demons are sufficiently hellish and the all the other character fit their descriptions very well.

Rage: Bane of Demons is a throwback to fantasy books of the past. It offers up a story that is enjoyable enough to read through and characters who--while fitting traditional fantasy stereotypes--still manage to evoke some emotional investment on the part of the reader. Rage is an utter beast, content to wreck shop where the situation calls for it. Placing such an incredibly powerful asset under the charge of a frail old man presents a rather intriguing dichotomy of power that helps move the book forward.

Rage: Bane of Demons has a Ulule page up for a rapidly approaching deadline. Check out the Facebook page here. It's currently available on multiple platforms via the Rage website.