Review – Devlin Waugh: Blood Debt (Rebellion)

Publisher: Rebellion
Writer(s): Rory McConville, Aleš Kot
Artwork: Mike Dowling
Release Date: 13th May 2021

Devlin Waugh, Vatican Exorcist, greatest paranormal investigator in the world, and celebrated Libertine. Renowned for his up close and personal approach to the supernatural, Waugh may have bitten off more than he can chew with his latest set of adventures.

First off, can we just take a moment to think about the fact that Devlin Waugh has been gracing the pages of the Judge Dredd Megazine and 2000 AD for almost 30 years, and I’ve yet to read a Devlin Waugh story that hasn’t hit me right where I live. I’ve got to be honest, there’s just a tiny part of me that always hoped that someday I’d grow up to be just like
him, although maybe without the predilection for human blood.

Blood Debt collects four stories in the world of Devlin Waugh:

Blood Debt itself sees Devlin becoming embroiled in a bid to save his brother Freddy from the grip of Manzoor, proprietor of The Chasm of Perpetual Delight & Endless Sorrows, an establishment where you can gamble with anything, including years of your life or even your soul. Will Devlin’s fight to save his brother’s soul repair the rift in their relationship? Unlikely, but there’s always hope.

Kiss of Death tells the story of a young man named Mercury who, looking to revitalise his image after a rather public and ill advised racial slur, arranges a date with Devlin Waugh. Unsurprisingly, things go completely sideways during their date, although Mercury has to concede that despite the plague, the blood, and the brutal and violent deaths, it’s probably the most romantic date he’s ever been on.

Call Me By Thy Name sees Devlin rainchecking one of his legendary orgies to investigate the demonic possession of a building and it’s inhabitants, which culminates in Waugh leaving with a demonically possessed dildo. As you do.

And finally, A Very Large Splash sees Devlin recuperating from his recent exploits with his new found friend Titivillus, the demonic dildo and some old acquaintances. Inevitably when things go awry it is in a satisfyingly Lovecraftian fashion, seeing Devlin pit his wits against, his possessed friends, demons, and an ancient leviathan of the depths.

Despite Devlin Waugh being firmly set in the world of Judge Dredd, that 1920s British upper class persona that accompanies his endeavours is what I think really makes him so utterly, devilishly charming and makes even his most indefensible actions defensible. This particular set of stories manages to combine straight up horror with some wonderfully Lovecraftian themes and twists, turns and fantasies that are reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. There is also a wickedly irreverent sense of humour to his exploits that is reminiscent of Rik Mayal’s Lord Flasheart or for those of you with a more literary bent, George MacDonald Fraser’s depiction of the life and times of Harry Flashman after his expulsion from Rugby.

I firmly hope that there is never a point where I tire of reading the lurid tales of Devlin Waugh, and rest assured that today certainly isn’t that day.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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