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FIRST LOOK: Cassaday’s Final “Death-Defying” Cover

by  in Comic News Comment
FIRST LOOK: Cassaday’s Final “Death-Defying” Cover
“The Death-Defying ‘Devil” #4 cover by John Cassaday (final art will be in color)

During their brief stint in comics shops, the titles comprising Alex Ross and Dynamite Entertainment’s “Project Superpowers” franchise have made a mark upon readers, thanks in large part to their covers, which have proven one of the most evocative aspects of the series. While Ross took solo cover duties on the original “Superpowers” miniseries, spin-offs such as “The Black Terror” and “Death Defying ‘Devil” have expanded the talent base to include both series interior artists as well as legendary creators. 

“The covers are amazing,” said Joe Casey, writer of the “Project Superpowers” spinoff “Death-Defying ‘Devil.” He told CBR, “Of course, the Alex and [John] Cassaday covers are up to their usual high standards, but I never thought I’d have the honor of having legends like [John] Romita [Sr.] and George Tuska do covers for books I had something to do with. Tuska drew some great issues of ‘Avengers’ back in the day, so he’s got all the street cred he’ll ever need from me.”

For the fourth and final installment of the “‘Devil” spin-off miniseries, Ross, interior artist Edgar Salazar, and John Cassaday each have their final say with the character, and CBR nabbed a first look at Cassaday’s pencils, featuring a face-off between the Death-Defying ‘Devil and his villainous mirror image, the Deadly Dreaded Dragon.

Of course, readers who have seen Ross’ blood-tinged cover for this issue may see some foreshadowing to a grim end for the villain who has been shrouded in questions since his first appearance. “The mystery behind the Dragon will absolutely be revealed in the miniseries. Readers who pay close attention have seen several clues already in the beginning of the series,” explained Casey, who also noted the prominence of revived Golden Age hero The Ghost – a phantom pilot. “Believe me, I’m not all that concerned with ‘real’ here. And once you set aside that concern, it’s very freeing. I think everyone involved in this universe of characters want to provide really cool superhero comics where any concept or character – no matter how outlandish they might seem – can fit. So, in the case of The Ghost, he just fits in with the story we’re telling.”

“The Death-Defying ‘Devil” #4 covers by Edgar Salazar and Alex Ross

Another thread hanging over the miniseries finale is the status of unseen mastermind villain The Claw, whose works have manifested in the modern day cult that carries out his will without questions. Casey said the villain will be explored some in this series before carrying on into future projects with the characters. “The re-imagination of The Claw is all Alex Ross. He has a great vision of what this character – who, in his original incarnation, is a pretty disturbing stereotype – can be in a modern setting,” Casey said. “Alex is pretty damn good at re-contextualizing older characters so they still work, so it’s cool stuff. Obviously, The Claw and his organization (which is worldwide) play a big part in the ”Devil’ series, as well. But there’s a lot to be revealed in the second “Project Superpowers’ that I wouldn’t want to spoil here.”

As for his own involvement, Joe Casey will miss the characters but has high hopes for their future. “It’s just fun to collaborate with Alex in this way. He’s definitely got a vision for these characters but he always wants to work together to make things better and more interesting and, frankly, more fun,” the writer said. “The whole experience has been pretty fun so reaching the finish line is more bittersweet than anything else.”

“Death-Defying ‘Devil” #3 hits stores next month from Dynamite Entertainment, with the final issue following in March.

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