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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Son of Satan/Son of Adam
Yes, it was common for DC, Marvel, and some of the smaller houses to not do their best work on their "horror" titles. There was often a revolving door of second-rate hack writers and artists working on them. Well, this was definately not the case with these stories. Every story here is well drawn and well plotted. There is a remarkable consistency considering how many...
Published on February 28, 2008 by OAKSHAMAN

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss (with more misses)
It would be wonderful to say that everything Marvel is putting out under its Essentials line is truly essential, reissues of classic works, particularly from the 1960s and 1970s. Wonderful, but not true. While some Essential books are truly great (for example, the Spiderman or Fantastic Four books), others definitely show that Marvel put out its share of clunkers as...
Published on December 16, 2006 by mrliteral


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Son of Satan/Son of Adam, February 28, 2008
By 
OAKSHAMAN "oakshaman" (Algoma, WI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Yes, it was common for DC, Marvel, and some of the smaller houses to not do their best work on their "horror" titles. There was often a revolving door of second-rate hack writers and artists working on them. Well, this was definately not the case with these stories. Every story here is well drawn and well plotted. There is a remarkable consistency considering how many people worked on all these issues at Marvel. I am not exagerating when I say that this volume was (surprisingly) the best Essentials collection that I have yet read. It was a rare treat that I stretched out reading for a week- right before sleep.

As for these stories not being truly Essential, well, they are essential to understanding the 70's. Before the Comics Code Authority began to relax its restrictions in the 70's characters like Daimon Hellstrom, Satana, Ghost Rider, Morbius and Dracula never would have appeared in comics. That is because the code was written specifically to ban horror and the occult- in response to the old EC titles. These stories demonstrate a historical change in direction for American comics- without them there would have been no Midnight Sons and certainly none of the many Vertigo titles.

Many groups attacked Marvel for making the son of S*t*n a hero with his own title. I remember avoiding the title myself. But then this shows a total ignorance of the character. Daimon Hellstrom was raised by Jesuits to be a priest. Every story is a morality play with Hellstrom on the side of the angels. Yes, he is the son of the Adversary but he has given himself over to heaven. He constantly struggles with his darksoul, his shadow, but in the end he realises that he can never totally exorcise his inner darkness- only manage it in self-acceptance and use its power to energize the creative instead of the destructive. Owning your shadow is pretty deep for a comic book- especially one of this period, but then the entire collection shows an above average grasp of the psychological and metaphysical. Daimon represents yang (light with a seed of darkness within) while his sister Satana represents Ying (darkness containing a seed of light.) They interact in a high opera of dynamic equilibrium...

One other thing- I usually find these black and white reprints to be distracting. This wasn't the case with these stories. The black and white with plenty of dark noir shading and shadows worked better for me. Bright colors would have been distracting, but maybe that is because I was raised on the old EC and Warren black and white horror titles.

My only criticism is the total lack of page numbering- it is impossible to refer back to anything without flipping through hundreds of pages...
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss (with more misses), December 16, 2006
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
It would be wonderful to say that everything Marvel is putting out under its Essentials line is truly essential, reissues of classic works, particularly from the 1960s and 1970s. Wonderful, but not true. While some Essential books are truly great (for example, the Spiderman or Fantastic Four books), others definitely show that Marvel put out its share of clunkers as well. Sadly, the Essential Marvel Horror, Volume 1 - while it does have its share of decent stuff - is overall, one of the clunkers.

The Essential Marvel Horror book follows two principal characters, typically in their own stories. The majority of the book deals with Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, who despite (or because of) his heritage, fights the forces of supernatural evil. Although his origin may be a little stranger than the typical radioactively spawned one, he is nonetheless one of a long line of superheroes. Armed with a trident that contains netheranium, a strange metal that Satan is vulnerable to, Hellstrom typically battles demons from Hell, who many times are possessing innocent people. Unfortunately, despite the internal conflicts of his good and bad sides, he is not a very interesting character, and the supporting cast is rather weak as well; the strongest such supporting character, Katherine Reynolds, is abandoned midway through the Son of Satan issues as Hellstrom abruptly decides to move to a new city. In the end, the Son of Satan stories are not as much horror but standard superhero fiction with a supernatural touch.

On the other hand, the stories featuring Satana, Daimon's sister, more closely approach horror fiction and are the stronger for it. Satana is a succubus, a half-demon/half-human who can seduce and suck the life and soul out of any man. In the beginning, she is thoroughly evil and the loyal daughter to her devilish father, but eventually, her human side allows her to be, if not truly good, a little bit more compassionate. Though the quality is often erratic, the best stories in this book are the Satana ones; unfortunately, they take up only a quarter or so of the volume.

It's obvious reading this book that Marvel was not all that attached to either character during the first run of these issues. Both writers and artists come and go quickly, and none stick around really long enough to leave a real mark. There are some big names in the bunch: Chris Claremont, Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema to name a few, but even these people are just passing through. In addition, unlike other Essential editions, there is no real effort to put these stories in strict chronological order; while any given title is presented in the right sequence, the crossover with other titles is not done in the correct order.

Overall, the Son of Satan stories rate two stars and the Satana stories rate maybe a high three. With the other flaws in this edition, I am going to give this two stars. Letter grade-wise, it's a D+, a passing grade, but just barely. If you like the supernatural side of Marvel, you're far better off with the Tomb of Dracula stories. The Essential Marvel Horror should be towards the bottom of your Essentials list.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, nothing really essential here at all, April 21, 2007
This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Despite being under Marvel's budget priced Essential line, Essential Marvel Horror really isn't all that essential at all, nor scary for that matter. Collecting issues from a variety of different series', Essential Marvel Horror mainly revolves around Daimon Hellstrom, who despite his demonic heritage (he is the son of Satan after all), fights evil at every turn. Also taking focus in this collection is Daimon's succubus sister Satana, and Ghost Rider pops up as well. Reading this collection can help you appreciate what Marvel was trying to do at the time, but everything here is so wildly inconsistent thanks to the variety of different writers and artists that the storytelling itself is erratic and hard to follow. Not to mention that the appearances from Spider-Man and Fantastic Four members Thing and Human Torch are just tacked on here and come off as quite lame. The variety of writing and art talent includes big names like Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber, legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Tomb of Dracula artist Gene Colan, Jim Starlin, and the great Sal Buscema; but none of them can elevate this collection above anything other than average. If you want to read some great, classic Marvel horror, the Essential Tomb of Dracula trades are much more worth your time and cash.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Meh....., March 1, 2014
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this. I love most other Marvel Essentials. I think they are a great way to read classic stories. But the Son of Satan stories were convoluted and boring. I don't think any of the writers knew what they wanted to do with the characters so the direction was always changing. It was just.... well.. not that good.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Son of Satan LIVES!, January 31, 2007
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Sooooo much fun this collection!

Quality 70's drawing and story development throughout, increasingly cool and thoughtful as it moves along through the issues ... Daimon Hellstrom becomes quite a character ... a thoroughly enjoyable WILD read. I had been looking forward to its release since the Ghost Rider collection last year and I was NOT disappointed. It gets far out and sinister, just like you'd want it to.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, August 15, 2014
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
I'm a bit disappointed that it is in black and white. I would have paid more for full color.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars full run of marvels first family of horror, January 14, 2013
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
sooo... how many people believe that you could make a comic series about the rebellious offspring of satan himself, and not have it canned before publication? you didn't have that problem in the seventies as the characters of Santana and Damien Hellstrom lasted at least long enough for a sumptuous 600 page volume of marvel essentai horror. its worth it just to experience this oddball exploitation comic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this is a good read., September 10, 2014
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
Until this is collected in a full-color omnibus, this is a good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring Evil, November 17, 2008
By 
David Hood (Wesley Chapel, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
This should really have been called Essential Son of Satan & Satana as those two characters take up the entirety of the book.

The Son of Satan stories take up the most of the book, dealing with the half-human son of "Satan", Damian Hellstrom, as he fights his father. Though an interesting premise, how would he use his satanic powers for good and how will he avoid becoming evil as his heritage would indicate he should be really gets repetitive. The beginning stories are interesting, but by the time he gets his own book they are becoming tiresome. Less horror at this point than straight up superhero.

The changing of authors also hurts the title. Steve Gerber, St. Louis native, had set up a nice continuity with Damian building up a career and relationships there. When a new author took over, without any pre-amble Damian moves away abruptly leaving his love interest. The other problem is the severely limited nature of his powers, he wields a Netheranium trident to which the denizens of hell are weak against, has the ability to project hellfire to damage the souls of the evil creatures from hell and superior strength. Though he bills himself as an exorcist, and is introduced in Ghost Rider that way, he actually does little exorcism, and what he does do is generally via his hellfire, not ritual magic. Not exploring this side of the character lessens his depth.

The last quarter or so of the collection deals with his sister Satana, who starts out raised by her father and ultimately evil. She is banished to earth as a succubus and comes into contact with humanity, and her own humanity, as she preys on people. The black and white format of the Essentials collections does not affect Satana as much as other titles as Satana was published at times in black & white magazines, thus the artwork for those stories is presented here just as it was originally and it looks great. Also included are three or four text pieces about Satana, also not affected by the black & white format of the collection.

As well, we get to see much better character development with Satana as she runs into mentors and enemies from her past and forms relationships with humans in the present, moving away from being just purely evil to a more nuanced character containing some good and a lot of bad. Unfortunately, Satana as a character was dropped from circulation fairly early and there are fewer stories about her than her brother.

On the whole it's just ok to below average. Unless you are a fan of the genre, or of each character you probably want to give this a pass.
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Black and white Reprints, a waste of money., November 11, 2012
This review is from: Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) (Paperback)
The reprints are in Black and White. If this is what you want to waste your money in then so be it. Me, I'll keep my money.
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Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1)
Essential Marvel Horror, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials) (v. 1) by Roy Thomas (Paperback - October 18, 2006)
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