Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Comics: The Price (part 2)

We continue our examination of Jim Starlin's Dreadstar Saga with The Price. The earlier posts in the series can be found here.

The Price (part 2)
Eclipse Graphic Album Series #5 (October 1981) Story & Art by Jim Starlin

Synopsis: Lord Papal views Syzygy Darklock as a potential rival and is giving him just enough rope to hang himself. As he explains to Sister Marian, Darklock is quite aware of the Lord Papal's maneuvering. He plans to avenge his brother's murder with the latitude he's been given--and one day supplant the Lord Papal.

Whoever sent demons to kill his brother was probably after Darklock instead. Their auras are similar and that's how demon's track their prey. The demon would have also watched Ajar'l for hours or days before it struck. Darklock goes to his brother's office to pick up the demon's residue. He enter's a mystic trance, using Sister Marian as an anchor to the physical plane, and discovers a name: Bialgesuard.

Darklock plans to summon the demon, something Sister Marian says the Lord Papal wouldn't even attempt alone. Darklock says he's studied more and gained more mystical knowledge than his instructors or the Lord Papal has guessed. He knows he can do it.

Soon, Darklock has everything in readiness. He begins commences the ritual. Then:

Bialgesuard is not happy to have been summoned by a fool priest of a religion of liars. He refuses to serve Darklock or answer his questions. The priest makes him change his mind:

Darklock asks, "Who is your master?"

The demon gives up the name: Taurus Killgaren. Darklock has neve heard of him, but the demon assures the priest that he is a being of vast power. Power vast enough that the Lord Papal kept his existence hidden from the lower echelons of the church to preserve the myth of church omnipotence. Power vast enough that he didn't need a pentagram or hexagram to summon the demon.

To be continued.

Things to Notice:
  • The Church Instrumentality is remarkably involved in ritual magic.
The demon summoning in this issue is much more in the tradition of the ars goetia than the Kirby or Ditko-esque psychedelic scenes that Starlin used to portray magic and magic ritual in earlier works. The demon summoned is in the goetic tradition as well. Baal (possibly the inspiraiton for Bailgesuard's name) is said in goetic works to sometimes appear with the head of a cat.


Unknown said...

not sure if you have seen this

garrisonjames said...

Definitely a wee whiff of the Goetia in that series...but then it shows up in a lot of places, mostly because it's cheap or freely available and a lot of the other, more interesting grimoires remain pretty obscure or expensive.

Darklock always reminds me of Darklon. I guess I've been working on project X for too long, now I see Darklon everywhere...

Trey said...

@Tom - I have indeed. :)
@garrisonjames - I suppose there are worse hallucinations to have. ;)

bombasticus said...

Funny scene. Englehart's occult investigations are fairly well known at this point but I never thought to dig in on Starlin.