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Fryer, Hayden – Billy Demon Slayer #5


Billy: Demon Slayer Series 2 #5

I’m going to try to read the last half of this series more quickly than I read the first half, as that may help with my generally crappy short term memory. At least it couldn’t hurt. This time around Billy has been taken over by something evil and his friends have been dragged to hell. That’s where we spend most of the issue: in hell, spending brief bits of time with its inhabitants while learning a bit more about the general master plan that’s been going on.  It’s basically a transitional issue, in other words, but with important things still going on.  I may not have mentioned this in past reviews (I could read them, but that would take actual effort, and I’m not fond of that), but I really enjoy Hayden’s “Where Are They Now?” segments at the back of each issue. Background characters are a constant feature of all books, and in a story like this, where there is very little time for huge amounts of character development, it makes me happy to see just how that one skull guy made it to hell in the first place.  Yes, I’m aware that this is probably odd, but it tickles me every time.  There’s not much left to say without spilling any beans.  I do wish that there weren’t three white guys with similar haircuts as major parts of the action, as it takes a minute to tell them apart. Couple that with the genuinely crappy memory and it’s a problem.  Still, that’s a minor quibble, and I’m enjoying the overall direction of this series, past complaints notwithstanding.  When I get to the finale I’m going to read the whole thing again before posting a review.  Best to be as informed as possible, right?  $3.50

Fryer, Hayden – Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #4


Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #4

Didn’t I say that I was going to go back and read this all in a chunk?  Maybe I’ll do that with a future issue, because the problem isn’t that I’ve completely forgotten what was in the first three issues in this series, even with the gap between reviews.  The trouble is that I have no idea what happened in the first “season,” and that information seems terribly important to understand what is happening now.  Or then, as this book came out in 2008, but there’s no sense getting everybody all confused.  Past events and characters are mentioned all the time, and that’s fine on a show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (an obvious influence) because past seasons are readily available and they’ll even occasionally take a moment to explain something that happened long ago. I’m trying to just enjoy this one and not worry about it, but they make it tough when everything is tied so closely to the last series.  So, ignoring all that, this issue is basically a long and hilarious fight scene between Billy and the mutated hamster from the last issue.  While this is going on a shadowy group is taking over hell, and the emo mist is creeping closer to Billy’s location. And all kinds of past events and characters are referenced like we’re supposed to understand them.  Aargh!  It bugs me because this is a very funny series all on its own, and the major plot developments are clearly the result of careful planning that I’ll never see.  Also, dispatching a villain by smashing it through a microwave glass door, then turning on the microwave while you’re standing right there WOULD KILL YOU.  Sure, you can say it’s “just a comic book,” which is another way to say that you just thought it would look cool and have no interest in the facts.  Man am I cranky today, I better wrap this up.  In conclusion, this is a funny and innovative series that is crying out for a collected edition of the previous series or some sort of a synopsis, but still holds up reasonably well all on its own.  $3.50

Fryer, Hayden – Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #3


Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #3

If I’m having a tough time keeping track of the story now, it must have been really tough on the people reading this when it first came out.  There was apparently a long delay in getting this issue out and this issue goes straight from the end of the second issue.  I still wish I had the first series of this book, as that would probably answer more than a few questions, but I’ll just keep flailing about and hoping that I hit on a good point or two.  Hey, exactly the same as all my other reviews!  This time around Billy is “underground” and trying to get information on the new sinister plot while his friends are still in town.  Things get bad in a hurry, as a crowd of zombies (described by a confused local as “some kind of an emo party”) descends upon the town.  Still, so far they seem to just be standing around, waiting for the word to start their mission.  Billy is actually fairly restrained in this issue, but I expect that to change in a big way for the next issue.  One thing is abundantly clear after reading this: before I review #4 I’m going to have to go back and read this series all in a row.  This issue by issue business just isn’t cutting it for me this time around.  The good news is that there were fewer grammatical errors (I’ve given up hope of the guy ever learning the difference between “too” and ‘to”), we still got the “where are they now” section to detail the fates of the side characters who wander off at the end of every issue, and there’s still some pretty great dialogue going on.  Still, I’m left with the feeling I had when I started watching Buffy at the start of the third season: I thought it was fantastic, but some of the finer points were lost on me because I didn’t know the history.  $3.50

Fryer, Hayden – Billy the Demon Slayer #2


Billy the Demon Slayer #2

I’m torn on this one.  On the one hand I would love to give a pass to the constantly wrong usage of “you’re” and “your”, “too” and “to”, but on the other hand that would make me a bit of a hypocrite.  Ah well, so I’ll be a hypocrite.  After all, the series is over with (this came out in 2006 and Hayden sent along the whole second series), so any advice I give about such things would be rather pointless.  OK, how about this: Hayden, if you’re planning another series, please pass it too an English major or two to make sure that all the easy errors are fixed.  There, problem solved!  I still wish there was some kind of detailed series recap so I would know exactly what happened in the first series, but I’m hoping this will catch me up as I go along.  Anyway, in this issue two mysterious figures are terrorizing the students, Billy gets in trouble at school, Billy meets up with Deadus (I’m very curious about their history, and if you were wondering, contrary to appearances on that cover, he does NOT give Deadus a noogie that I could see), Billy punches his evil twin, another student seems to be making this get all evil, and things end on a confusing cliffhanger.  It’s a little odd that both issues so far have needed an afterword to explain what happened to people in the comic, as that sort of thing should make sense in the context of the comic itself.  So far it seems like this series has problems, but the humor is infectious and I’m increasingly curious to see if this ends up making any sense.  Worth a look, I think, but so far it’s mostly my love for bizarre humor and apocalyptic plots that are making me say that.  $3.50

Fryer, Hayden – Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #1


Billy the Demon Slayer S2 #1

Where do you go in a comic after you’ve killed off god and the devil in the first series?  Or at least that’s what I’m guessing happened, as it was told in a very quick bit of narration at the start of the comic.  That question is still a bit of a mystery after this first issue, which was very enjoyable in its own right.  Things start off with a group of robed cultists chanting, and out pops Billy out of the shower, as they were apparently trying to conjure up Billy’s father (who happens to be the devil; a piece of information I learned on the website and not in the comic).  Billy is apparently trying to get back to a normal life after the events of the last series, and would it have killed Hayden to put some sort of a recap in the first issue?  Ah, don’t mind me, it’s just a pet peeve of mine.  The tone is very much tongue-in-cheek throughout, as you can see the main villain of this issue on the cover, and the narration mentions the fact of life that is “cheesy sequels” a few times.  There is a scientist behind the trouble with the hamster (naturally), and we don’t see a whole lot of him in this issue, so I’m guessing he’ll come into play later.  Oh, did I mention that this series is 7 issues long, at least so far, and at least that I know of?  Thought I should throw that out there.  Anyway, the hamster transforms in the middle of a pile of goop that looks suspiciously like the pile of goop that is used to conjure Billy at the start of the issue, either a coincidence, something that’ll be picked up on later in the series, or possibly he’s just depicting the legally required consistency of magical goop.  Anyway, the battle is “fought”, the scientist transforms appropriately into a mad scientist, and things are starting to get set up from the rest of the series.  I’m still not sure how he tops killing off god and the devil, but I’ve seen the covers for the rest of the series and am curious to see what he comes up with.  $3.50