“And here I am, your nemesis, the Demonhuntress” – Alexis, The Demonhuntress Volume 1.
Writer/artist – Paulus Linnaeus
Publisher – Independently published
Alexis is a young, happy and unsuspecting bride when her life is suddenly changed. Whilst on a visit to a European fortress with mysterious connections to her lineage known as Karavalitz, she witnesses the untimely demise of her husband by supernatural forces. Waking nineteen years in the future and in the care of priests who have been watching over her, Alexis struggles to adapt to this new world and the mysterious surrounding herself. All alone and with death eluding her at every turn, Alexis must come to terms with her destiny all while being hunted by the same Supernatural forces that took everything from her.
The Demonhuntress does a decent job introducing us to the main characters and plot elements that will play a major role in the story. From the very first page it plays out like a classic gothic horror story, and if you’re a fan of the genre then you are going to notice these tropes very early on. There’s the setting of a mysterious, run down fortress that harbors secrets of it’s own, a prophecy that surrounds our main character, and the desire to explore the world beyond our own realm. Many of these elements are introduced within the first few pages, and if you like gothic fiction, then you will be forgiven for thinking that you have read this before.
However, The Demonhuntress offers it’s own unique spin. As the title suggests, this story follows a female protagonist’s journey from the classic damsel in distress to a sword wielding slayer of evil. Female characters in gothic and fantasy fiction tend to be presented as either a persecuted maiden or a femme fatale. Then you have popular comics of the same genre, such as Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, and Sandman to name just a few, and all of them focus on a male lead. Which is why, when I was gifted a copy of The Demonhuntress by author and artist P. Linnaeus, I was incredibly interested to finally sit down and read through it.
One thing that I really liked about this first volume is that it wastes no time getting right into the main story. Starting on a flashback with our then would-be demonhuntress recounting the moments that led up to her tragedy, the story leads the reader right into this macabre world and Alexis’s journey. It’s also worth noting, that it usually quite difficult to have a well rounded development of a character in just one issue, but the pacing of the main characters story works nicely. We see Alexis go from being afraid of what evil was hunting her to finally having the strength and courage to seek vengeance against those who took everything from her, and I have to commend the author for giving a detailed backstory for a character that makes you emotionally invested in quite a short amount of time.
As a whole, the story is quite simple and flows at a decent pace which never feels like it is trying to rush to the finish line. There is also enough mystery and suspense to keep the reader until the very end. Who has been hunting Alexis and why? Why does she not seem to have aged a day in the past nineteen years and why can she not seem to die? Some of these questions get answered, whilst others set up a story to be further explored within future issues.
As for the art work, it’s definitely appropriate for the tone of the story. Excluding the front cover, The Demonhuntress is drawn entirely in black and white shades. Interestingly enough, instead of using block ink, it seems that creator P. Linnaeus has favored the delicate lines of pencil shading. This matches the gothic tones of the story and almost feels like a homage to the old classic horror comics. I personally really liked the little touches in the background when the story gets to the supernatural parts, where in some panels you can see slight details on the monsters that are lurking in the dark, and it’s really effective at adding to the eerie suspense. The panels themselves are also evenly displayed on the page and there is never too much happening on one page, which makes the structure of the story much clearer to follow.
With a solid character and plot being established The Demonhuntress is an impressive debut. With the introduction of a woman demon slayer whose adventures will continue in future installments and enough mystery and suspense to keep the reader intrigued for more, creator P. Linnaeus has created a story that is a refreshing addition to the gothic horror genre.
You can keep updated with The Demonhuntress and future installments over at their website.