Jan 23, 10
Read from January 16 to 22, 2010
I wasn't a fan of Mike Carey's work in comics. Although I could appreciate his skills as a writer, he never quite grabbed me the way Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis or Michael Bendis did. Maybe it was because he never seemed to get the "great" artists working with him. I tried (I really did) to like him, but I dropped Hellblazer from my pull list shortly after he took over, and I tried to like Lucifer, it just didn't hold my interest for very long.
This is why I had to give 5 stars to The Devil You Know. This is a Mike Carey I never dreamed of! He grabbed me in the first chapter and pulled me in. His writing style is unapologetically British (no changing jumper to sweater for the American audience, a la JK Rowling), and his use of pop cultural references and gut-shot descriptions kept me turning the pages.
To top that off, like Jim Butcher with Harry Dresden, Carey's created a character that is one part mysterious and the other part an old friend. Felix "Fix" Castor is an exorcist. The dead are rising, you see, and that's bother people. So it's up to "sensitives" like Fix to go in and run them off. Fix uses a musical cantrip to call and banish ghosts; his tin whistle kept by his side the way a 40s detective would have kept his .38 close.
Fix is a bit down on his luck... he had an exorcism go wrong, and go wrong on an old friend of his, so he'd decided to give up the life... but like Michael Corelone, just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in.
Maybe what's refreshing about this series, is that Fix is an original character for Carey. His in his previous comic book work, he was always taking a character that someone else had written (and written well, like Gaiman and Ennis) and trying to weave new tales for them. He seems to take a fair amount of pages from Jim Butcher's and Ellmore Leonard's books on how to write a great thriller, and it seems to have paid off.