Demon Archives

Creator/s: Daniel Sharp, Sebastian Piriz
Run: 11/13-current
Schedule: M/Th
Section: Chs. 1-3

Website: What's up with the lame design? It's just a simple white column on a light-gray background, as if it's merely a work-in-progress layout. It's functional, but there should be some creaivity and pizzazz to make the site a little more fun to use.

The extra content's great, as there's a blog, a cast page, and a few sections of goodies, and the Patreon patrons have access to even more stuff on top of that. My favorite one's an interactive map that shows all of the geopolitical hotspots that get nuked in the comic's conceptualization of World War III, although I'd prefer it if the map had more detailed information.

Finally, I consider it unprofessional that the writer's the only creator credited on the home page, and the only reason I know that there's an artist at all is that he's mentioned on the Patreon page. I guess the writer technically owns the comic and yada-yada, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

Writing: Following up last week's review of Steel Salvation, this is another post-apocalyptic story that covers similar existential themes. Demon Archives' website describes the comic as "dabbling in topics such as the singularity, the nature of humanity, intelligence, and self identity," and while I'm interested in seeing the creators' take on those subjects, they're sure taking their sweet time getting around to it. I read the first three chapters of the webcomic, and all I've seen so far is a ridiculously dull G.I. Joe romp.

"Singularity Science Fiction," as poignantly displayed at the top of the website, is apparently the creators' label for dozens of pages of tedious action sequences and macho heroics. While I'm guessing that the rampant explosions, gunfights, and soldier-talk is supposed to be exciting, I found myself waiting impatiently for respite in hope that a small bit of imagination would show up at some point. Fortunately, it did eventually; unfortunately, it shows up in the form of dozens of expository blog posts that are separate from the comic. This is an abysmally bad way to pace a webcomic, and further, I feel deceived as a reader since I expected a cerebral sci-fi story but got a dumb action story instead. And speaking of deception, what's up with the webcomic's title and the giant, red demon on the Chapter 1 cover when there still haven't been any demons mentioned or shown yet in the comic? The creator suggests in a comment that the demon's meant as "symbolism," but I'm not amused by these creative decisions.

The quality of the writing is underwhelming as well, as while the standard combat dialogue is unambitious, the heavy-handed foreshadowing that precedes it is obnoxious. Consider some of these super-duper-obvious signs that the Keleres crew is overconfident:

1) Tenzin casually refers to his assignment as "babysitting" twice (c1.p2 & c1.p5)
2) Tenzin daydreams during the mission brief (c1.p2)
3) Tenzin mentions twice that the Keleres haven't had a casualty in "almost a year" (c1.p2 & c1.p8)
4) Viktor comments that Tenzin's worrying too much about "another easy mission" (c1.p4)
5) Tenzin sarcastically jokes about the desert being quote-unquote "scary" (c1.p5)
6) Right before arrival, the soldiers are casually talking about alcohol and sex (c1.p6 & c1.p7)
7) Viktor remarks that it's "easy" being a soldier (c1.p7)
8) Smith smiles while commenting on the Keleres' "perfect mission[s]" (c1.p8)

That's at least 10 instances of foreshadowing in the first eight pages, which is a lot more than necessary, and it really bogs down the beginning of the story.

Art: The excellence of the artwork's self-evident, and it has two main benefits: One, it's going to raise this webcomic's score considerably, and two, it means I can keep this review brief and do something else fun with my free time, as I'm not going to bother fluffing this section with flowery language. What stands out the most to me, though, are the visor-shaped point-of-view panels, which really enhance the experience of the battle scene.

A couple things I didn't like: Faces need some work, as they're inexpressive, simplistic, and stiff, defaulting to a ubiquitous "tough guy" look that all of the characters share. I prefer how the comic looks when the characters have their helmets on, as whenever they take them off, I'm temporarily distracted from the otherwise great illustrations. And the other thing, which may be more of a fault of the writing, is that there are too many wide shots and splash pages. They look awesome, and they're effective at showing off the creator's mad skillz, but they have the unfortunate side effect of slowing down the story a lot and making the battle take more pages to convey than necessary. The result is a webcomic that's flashy but lacks substance.

Overall: While the pages and pages of information on the website are probably compelling, Demon Archives' dopey shoot-'em-up story can't be saved by the dazzling artwork. Six months' worth of updates have basically been wasted on an extended fight scene that does little to advance the plot, develop the characters, or elaborate on the webcomic's alleged themes. I'd like to see a little more urgency in turning this project into the intriguing science-fiction story it was intended to be.



  1. Thanks for the review! I'm glad that at the least we've proved we aren't terrorists ;)

    I'm glad you pointed out that I hadn't obviously credited the artist on the main or about pages! I've fixed that now. As you rightly pointed out, the site is still a work in progress, as my webmaster has a busy day-job that finances the project :)

    Looks like I need to work on my writing some more. This started out as a novel, and still has/suffers from a novel's pacing. All that has happened originally took place in the first two chapters, before getting in to the deeper existential stuff. This is my first webcomic, so I didn't quite grasp how long it would take just to get through that part of the story when updating twice a week.

    Now that the macho-GI joe introduction is done, however, we'll actually be getting into the meat of the story, and the story elements we've tagged it has having.

    Thanks again for the review! 3 donuts actually means a lot from the Webcomic Police :)

    1. No problem. And it seems like the story will be pretty cool once it gets into the sci-fi stuff more.

  2. Thanks for the candid review. I think perhaps our pacing is just a tad bit to slow for the M/Th nature of it. Its meant to be more of a graphic novel, akin to the original elf-quest types in their pacing and story telling. We've said a few times, that the stuff in Chapters 1-3 is almost like the intro before the title screen.

    But that said... time to focus on the website again... that's my particular job and never seems up to snuff :D

    1. I'll make a mental note to check the newer chapters out at some point.

    2. We're up to Chapter 10 now, if you ever feel like giving us another look over.

    3. I'll be doing a post this year on sci-fi webcomics, and I might be able to include at least a mini-review of Demon Archives.