Talented Japanese artist Peach Momoko has been having one hell of a moment in the world of comic books. Named a member of the 2020 inaugural class of Marvel’s Stormbreakers, a group of elite artists from around the world who are expected to push artistic boundaries, Peach’s artwork has graced the covers of numerous comics within the past year.
With soft lines and watercolor inks, Peach’s art is both expressive and beautiful. Her cover art, comprised largely of female characters, evokes a certain dreamy emotion and has a very distinct style. Whether it’s a smirking Harley Quinn, a confident Captain Marvel, or a battle-ready Rey, her work is easy to spot and identify. In a pool of talented comic book artists, being recognizable is a good thing, and it led to Peach being approached by Marvel’s editor-in-chief, C.B. Cebulski, about creating her own universe within Marvel. And, so, the Momoko-verse was born.
Demon Days: X-Men, which was released on March 3rd, has become the first comic of this new Momoko-verse. It also marks the first time that Peach has branched out beyond the cover work she’s become known for, as she is the creator, writer, and cover artist for this series, as well. The inside cover teases “Welcome to a world filled with demons and spirits, monsters and magic. This is the Marvel Universe like you’ve never seen it before.” The statement is true, as Peach weaves Japanese folklore of yokai and samurai together with well-known Marvel characters, fusing them to create something new and just as unique as her artwork.
The main cover of Demon Days: X-Men features a familiar purple-haired mutant wielding a katana instead of her usual psy-blade and going by the name Sai within the comic. Behind her looms a curious version of Venom, whom we learn is an orochi, or snake demon, that’s been tormenting a small village that lies at the base of Mt. Kirisaki in feudal Japan, where our story takes place.
With the help of a massive troll-like oni who bears a very Hulk-like demeanor, a large wolf-dog named Logan, and a few local villagers, Sai must defeat this orochi Venom and help save the village. In an interview with Marvel, Peach explains that “the connection between the first issue [of Demon Days] and the rest of the series is that they are all based in Mt. Kirasaki.” This means that, even though Peach has said that the other issues take place in a different time and feature different characters, the story in this first issue lies the groundwork for the rest of the series.
Fans of Japanese culture and folklore will likely enjoy the singular storytelling of the Demon Days series. Peach says that she “would like everyone to forget about what [the characters] are supposed to be in the real Marvel universe” because this series simply isn’t that. These characters, although similar in appearance and name, aren’t the superheroes readers are used to, and going into this comic thinking that they are will spoil the magic that Peach weaves throughout its pages.
Demon Days is set to be only a five-issue series, with a new issue being released every three months. This means that the next installment, titled Demon Days: Mariko, won’t hit comic book shelves until June 2nd, and will feature Peach’s one-of-a-kind take on characters like Black Widow and Nightcrawler.
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.