Malek Reigning Devil #1: Its Tough to be the King.
Malek: Reigning Devil is a spin-off comic from the anthology Gunmetal Black Ops, devoted to stories about assassins and spies. In the volume our titular character Malek (ol helmet head up above) is known as the Abd Hamashhit. From what I gather from context clues it means Assassin for God, as in the anthology he was tasked with killing Lucifer. You know, the Devil. Apparently he has been amassing an army to lay siege to heaven (shocking I know) and God is like “Yea we can’t have that.”
Malek is successful in his task. However, Lucifer informs Malek that in killing the Devil he would assume his place as ruler of Hell. That is where our story picks up the ball to run with.
It’s a Tough Job.
Almost immediately as Malek assumes the throne, the various demons of Hell rise up in revolt to protest his rule. Not really so much as a result of it, more like they see a chance to consolidate power for themselves. Malek, rightly so, is quite annoyed by all of this. But revolts don’t put themselves down, so he musters his forces to put down these various rebellions circle by circle.
As you can see, things are going pretty good for him. In succession over the issue he also brings Gluttony and Lust to heel under his rule. Things go so well for him in fact he almost seems nigh unstoppable in his new mission.
Heaven Calls, Dad’s Mad.
Yet in the midst of his conquest, he receives a visit from Gabriel. A notable angel in various scriptures, Gabriel is loosely understood as THE messenger of God. If Gabriel says it, its basically as if God is speaking to you. So him appearing before Malek means God wants something from our new King, which really you can see that being “Hey Malek, stop doing what you are doing.”
Malek, as expected, is pretty miffed by this development. The two of them have a back forth that breaks down to where Malek will not heed God’s command while Gabriel is disappointed by it. He leaves warning Malek that God can always make another assassin to kill him. Malek, in turn, essentially says “Bring it on.”
God Brings It On.
Gabriel returns to Heaven in order to give his report. While we as the audience don’t hear how God responds to this, we can read from Gabriel that its not terribly pleased by it. Of course, we don’t need any subtle hints about this:
As stated previously, when the moment above is happening, Malek visits the circle of Lust in order to bring her to heel. She seems agreeable to this right up till she tries to stab him thinking him distracted. He isn’t, and it doesn’t end well for her. On his way out though, that is when the new Abd Hamashhit arrives to do his godly duty.
The new Devil and God’s assassin get into a fierce battle with each other. The new Abd was crafted in order to beat Malek, thus in the beginning of the battle the advantage is on Heaven’s side. Malek is pretty quick to see that if he plays it by the book, he is going to lose. So he does what the Devil do.
He summons flames, demons, and other tricks to the trade to one up Abd. It ends in quite a gruesome manner as the same beast that ate Oso (the priestly looking dude) returns to do the same to this assassin. With Heaven’s intentions clear, Malek re-affirms his commitment to bringing Hell fully under his rule. Where he goes after that only the series creator can say.
Malek Reigning Devil is very much a throwback comic. The bulky shoulder pads and art direction is very reminiscent of Rob Liefield’s artistic style, while the storyline is very much something out of the 90s. The easiest comparison is to that of Spawn, as it shares themes of the war between Heaven and Hell. However, the comic assumes an identity of its own by tweaking the main players ever so slightly.
Rather than including humanity or the realm of Earth, it is strictly between the two realms going back and forth with each other. Malek is a very classic protagonist of the 90s. No nonsense attitude, powers through all obstacles in his way, and very very angry at people. Its a comic that knows the mold it is inhabiting and does so in an entertaining manner.
If you would like to pick up your own copy of Malek Reigning Devil, you can find it on Indyplanet as a print on demand or digital copy. Thanks for reading dear reader, I’ll see you in the next review!