Justice League Dark: Rise The Demon Etrigan

Michael Whitlatch ComiConverse
September 18th, 2016

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Etrigan The Demon and the rest of his Justice League Dark teammates are part of  one of the hottest DC properties on the market.  The DC animated movie represents another step down the road to Etrigan and company appearing in a Justice League Dark live-action film. But just who is Jason Blood and his alter-ego Etrigan? We have everything you need to know about Justice League Dark's resident demon here on ComiConverse.

Justice League Dark: Rise The Demon Etrigan

Justice League Dark Etrigan The Demon

Credit: DC Comics

The Demon Etrigan: A Short History

The first thing to remember is that it took a mind as brilliant as Jack Kirby's to come up with a character as fantastic and mysterious as Etrigan The Demon. Kirby created Etrigan in 1972 following the cancellation of his Fourth World comics series.

The second is that Etrigan and Jason Blood (his host) were not always joined in the manner they are today. Back in the times of King Arthur, the Wizard Merlin apparently had too much time on his hands and used to spend his down time trying to tame or enslave the occasional demon from pits of Hell.  What could go wrong there? Merlin, with his dark magics, has often been portrayed as being loosely related to the Devil and thus he and Etrigan are said to be half-brothers.

Merlin's experiments in controlling demons ultimately came to nothing and, in the end, it might have been better if Merlin had put his attentions elsewhere. One of King Arthur's knights, Jason Blood, had been conspiring with Merlin's arch enemy Morgaine Le Fey too betray the realm. When Blood's treachery was discovered, a furious Merlin thought he knew the perfect punishment. He magically bound the soul of Jason Blood to the demon Etrigan; cursing the now immortal Jason Blood to carry the demonic link with him as he walked the earth through all eternity.

That's gotta suck.

That Was Then. This Is Now

When we next meet Jason Blood he's a "demonologist" living and working Gotham City.  You'd think he'd feel right at home.

Jason became involved in various adventures that see him working with, and pitted against, several of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, all the while becoming increasingly familiar with his fellow Gotham resident - Batman. At one point the Justice League disappears on a mission and Batman's computers summon a variety of secondary heroes to take over the Justice League's duties. To an extent this episode, which occurred in Justice League #75 (2003), foreshadowed the creation of Justice League Dark.

So Just How Powerful Is Etrigan?

Its hard to talk about Etrigan without first talking about Jason Blood. Similarly to Vandal Savage, Jason Blood has been alive for ages and walks the earth as an immortal.  As one of King Arthur's knights, he obviously has some sword play skills, but centuries of adventures have left him with considerable hand-to-hand combat skills as well. Because of the mystical connection he bares to Etrigan he has a very strong understanding of all things occult and has occasionally been shown to possess limited magical abilities of his own.

When things get rough, Jason will usually utter some combination of the following poem from Merlin's tomb.

Change! Change, O' form of man!
Release the might from fleshy mire!
Boil the blood
in the heart for fire!
Gone! Gone! the form of man
Rise, the Demon Etrigan!!

Once he becomes Etrigan, the degree to which Jason Blood is controlling the demon is often unclear. In some stories he is depicted as having a strong influence over Etrigan, in others their relationship is far more contested. Whatever the case Etrigan is a supremely powerful adversary.

Driven by his mystical connections to the hellish forces of the underworld, Etrigan is almost impossibly strong and driven by supernatural forces.  He is a strong practitioner of magic and can blast hellfire at enemies from his hands or his mouth. He is a viscous hand-to-hand fighter and can heal injuries much more quickly than normal heroes.  As it turns out, demons don't do well with holy water, holy objects or iron, so those are weakness of which Etrigan must always be aware.

Sadly, as a magically-bonded creature himself, Etrigan is also susceptible to more powerful practitioners of magic and has, at times, fallen under the control of some of his more magically gifted foes. That being said, he is a formidable opponent, albeit one that has been limited to a support character role... until now.

What Is Justice League Dark?

The Justice League Dark DC animated film that was previewed at the 2016 edition of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) was another bit of evidence of the assembly line that DC Comics and Warner Brothers has constructed for their premium storylines and content.

The original comic book arc for Justice League Dark was announced in 2011 as part of DC's "New 52".  One of the principle storylines saw the Enchantress defeating the entire Justice League, leading to the need to specialists in magic, an aspect not regularly taken on by the normal members of the Justice League.

Just months after the release of the Justice League Dark comic book, rumours began to swirl around Guillermo del Toro was working on a live-action film version of the franchise. By 2016 de Toro had been replaced by Director Doug Liman, but the stage has been set for the members of Justice League Dark, including Etrigan, to invade popular culture.

The members of Justice League Dark are all characters who, because of their special relationship with the world of magic, have often been fringe characters in mainstream DC Comics storylines. John Constantine, Frankenstein, Zatanna, The Phantom Stranger and, of course, Etrigan are all characters who will likely now play a key role in the arc of the DCEU.

So in closing...

Prepare Yourself, O Comics Fan, Rise The Demon Entrigan!

What do you think of Etrigan's inclusion in the DC animated and live-action universes?

What are your thoughts on Justice League Dark?

Let us know in the comments section below.


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