This comic opens back in 1996 (the same year the rock band Murder City Devils formed…coincidentally, I’m sure) where an unnamed young man (well, he’s referred to as “Sparks” which I have to assume is a nickname) sneaks into an abandoned house at night on a dare from his friends. Inside he falls through the floor and lands in an underground basement filled with mummified dead people and a bunch of weird occult items. We see him accidentally cut himself on a small devil figurine and then what happens after that is unknown as the series jumps to the present.
We’re in a place called River City, which has been nicknamed “Murder City” thanks to a recent crime wave, which includes murders and arson. In a vicious sequence we see three punks rob and assault a helpless old couple, which sets the tone for how bad things have gotten. And that’s when our “hero” makes his appearance. Arriving on the scene to attack the punks by breathing blue flames on them.
Next we see him attacking a recently released Satanic sex offender, and then stopping a major drug deal. Over the course of the issue, the Murder City Devil (as he’s labeled in the press) exhibits superhuman agility allowing him to make giant leaps across buildings, and possibly enhanced strength, in addition to his blue fire-breathing power. He also exhibits his first weakness, when he finds himself repelled by a Christian cross that a criminal is wearing around his neck. This leads to a cliffhanger where a mysterious evil figure, the man behind the drug deal, vows to go after the devil.
This is a decent issue, the artwork is good and there’s lots of action. The main character could be fleshed out a bit more, I get that it’s only a first issue but like, for example, the cover makes a point of connecting this character to Spring-Heeled Jack, a London urban legend, yet there’s no mention of Spring-Heeled Jack in the comic itself. I feel like that’s a misstep. Still, I found the comic enjoyable enough to recommend and I’m curious to see what happens next.