With the release of the Amazon Original animated series adaptation of the Robert Kirkman comic Invincible, several of the comics’ beloved characters have been gaining increased attention and popularity, including, somewhat surprisingly, Damien Darkblood: The Demon Detective.
The Damien Darkblood in the Amazon show is a gruff, elusive, and unnerving private investigator–speaking elliptically in cryptic, fragmented sentences full of insinuation–who very quickly solves the murder case of the Guardians of the Globe. While this Darkblood represents an undeniably well-developed character, there are several facets of his dress, personality, speech, powers, and name that only avid comic readers and fans of the source material will recognize.
One Of His Superpowers Is Heat Resistance
While he never gets the chance to exercise it in the first season of the Amazon show–his only contact with fire being a candle used to exorcise and send him back to hell–Darkblood actually possesses the power of “heat resistance,” as he describes it to a police officer in issue #23 of The Astounding Wolf-Man.
Neither Kirkman nor the writers of the show deign to elaborate further on the nature or extent of Damien’s heat resistance, but the fact that it’s the only power or ability of his unique to the comics means that fans should be on the lookout for it to pop up in future seasons of Invincible.
He’s The Butt Of A Joke
Whereas the television Demon Detective may have been an enterprising and effective sleuth, pinning Omni-Man for the murders of the Guardians of the Globe almost from the very start, his comics counterpart is far less successful in his investigation.
In fact, he is quite literally laughed out of the offices of the Global Defense Agency by a secretary in Invincible #16 after intimating to her that he is “close” to determining the identity of the Guardians’ murderer… weeks after Omni-Man’s confession has already been broadcast by every major news corporation on the planet.
His Outfit Is Styled After Watchmen’s Rorschach
Comic fans with a cunning eye might recognize the trademark trench coat, scarf, and fedora combination worn by Damien Darkblood in the Invincible comics as inspired by the equally iconic outfit of legendary Watchmen detective, Rorschach.
Given Darkblood’s obvious film noir, rogue P.I. persona, a visual homage to one of the medium’s surliest and thematically darkest sleuth vigilantes is more than apt.
His Look Is Influenced By Hellboy
Unsurprisingly, Damien’s appearance is also significantly influenced by comics’ most famous demon detective: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. Pairing red skin, a demonic origin, and a beige trench coat–comic readers familiar with Mignola’s seminal work will instantly recognize these Hellboy callbacks in Darkblood’s character design.
His TV Speech Pattern Is Inspired By Rorschach
One of the most obvious changes made to Darkblood’s character in the Amazon adaptation was the introduction of a fragmented and elliptical pattern of speech–neglecting the use of verbs, subjects of sentences, and other grammatical necessities–that is largely, if not entirely, absent in the comics.
The inspiration for this comes from the same source as the inspiration for his outfit–Rorschach–a character famous for speaking in short, bleak, fragmented sentences, often delivered with an intentional air of disapproval, much like the TV version of the Demon Detective.
His Vanishing Act Is Unique To The Show
While the television Darkblood frequently engages in this well-worn trope of many a great superhero detective before him, the Damien of the comics ostensibly does not possess the power to spontaneously appear and disappear.
On the contrary, one of his (few) appearances in the Invincible comics actually shows him presenting an ID badge to a soldier outside of the entrance to Guardians’ headquarters and then walking inside, whereas in the show he simply mysteriously manifests himself there to meet Cecil.
He Hates His Moniker
In the Amazon adaptation, Damien may display implicitly through his demeanor a fair amount of resentment towards those looking down on him for his infernal nature, but in the comics he leaves little room for doubt when he describes his feelings regarding the title given him.
In The Astounding Wolf-Man #23, a police officer greets Darkblood by addressing him as the “Demon Detective”, to which he very bluntly responds: “You know I hate being called that. Is that any way to repay me for meeting you at this ungodly hour?”
He Has No Comics Backstory
Though he’s given a semi-robust origin story in the Amazon adaptation–a demon escaped from hell, righting wrongs through crime-solving in order to pay penance and avoid being returned to the inferno–fans of the Invincible comics will know that Kirkman never dignified the Demon Detective with a backstory.
The only time Darkblood’s past is even mentioned is when it is hinted at in issue #10, where Damien receives a jibe from a rival investigator and responds by telling her that:
“There was a time when I would have eaten your face for speaking to me that way. Be thankful that I’ve changed my ways.”
He’s Not The First Comics Character To Go By “The Demon”
Dropping the “detective” from his name, Darkblood is often referred to in both the show and the comics as simply “The Demon”–a name loaded with significance for fans of the legendary comics creator Jack Kirby.
Decades before Kirkman began Invincible, Kirby created Etrigan, a character who, like Darkblood, was a demon escaped from hell and living in the human world, fighting on the side of the angels but never quite relinquishing his fierce, demonic nature.
His Role Was Drastically Increased For The Show
Fans of the Invincible comic were likely surprised upon watching the Amazon adaptation to discover The Demon Detective is given such a prominent role with a such significant amount of screentime.
Unlike his television counterpart, appearing in nearly every episode, the Damien Darkblood of the comics appears in a scant three issues of Invincible and is only featured on a total of four out of the several thousand pages of the comic.
NEXT: Invincible: 10 Things They Changed From The Comics