The Demon, Jason Blood

Created by Jack Kirby

NAME + ALIASES:
Etrigan, Jason Blood

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Etrigan: Belial (father), Raan Va Daath of the Pit (mother), Merlin the Magician (half-brother), Scapegoat (brother). Blood: Marie (wife, deceased) Claire and another unnamed daughter (deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The Demon v.1 #1 (August-September, 1972)

+ History

Several thousand years ago, the Arch-fiend of Hell, Belial, determined that the time was right to create an heir. He chose Raan Va Daath, an ancient serpentine spirit of deceit, to be the mother of his offspring, and after a predictably severe courtship, the terror known as the demon Etrigan was "released."

Even as a junior cub-demon, Etrigan was a furious little bundle of evil and cruelty, disturbing every unholy ceremony and rite, terrorizing lesser demons and imps out of their wits, and breathing demon fire on anything that got in his way. Beyond grisly generalizations, however, little is known about the first millennia of Etrigan's existence in Hell. It is theorized that over the centuries he became so insufferable that even the greatest of the demons, the fallen angel Lucifer, felt intimidated by him. Belial was eventually installed as one of the three central lords of the underworld and was beseeched by his peers to apply some control to his son. Unwilling to confront his son, Belial chose a magical solution. For that, Belial needed someone with blood ties to Etrigan. He seduced a mortal witch-woman, and the fruit of their unholy union was one of the greatest sorcerers the world has ever known — Merlin the Magician.

Merlin's powers were quite different than Etrigan's, and he had only marginal success distracting the volatile demon while they both dwelt in Hell. To better focus his link to Etrigan, Merlin imbued much of his magic into a great artifact of wildly vague properties — the Philosopher's Stone. For several decades, Merlin was actually able to use Etrigan as a force for good, and as an adjunct to King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table.

Yet all good things must come to an end. Despite the secret use of a mighty demon as a defender of Camelot, that magnificent kingdom was assailed by evil hordes powerful enough to breech its staunches! defenses. The aggressors were led by an malevolent enchantress known as Morgaine LeFay, who had summoned her own army of demons to overwhelm King Arthur's shining city. Instead of surrendering control of Etrigan to LeFay or releasing the demon unbound into a defenseless world, the defeated Merlin was forced to improvise.

Merlin spied a man named Jason Blood, with his wife Marie and their two daughters. Since Jason cared little for King Arthur's affairs, and Etrigan had refused to help save Camelot, Merlin bonded the two together. This provided a controlling consciousness for Etrigan, but the pair went insane from the stress. Jason murdered his wife and daughter Claire with an axe. Marie's brother discovered the slaughter, and incited a mob to kill Jason, who then turned into Etrigan who slayed the mob. A year later, Etrigan and Jason regained their sanity. (Demon #0)

Belial also had a third son, Scapegoat. Just before LeFay's attack, all three children engaged in a war. Merlin damned Scapegoat to carry all Hell's sins and imprisoned him in the "Region Beyond." In the years that followed, Merlin and King Arthur imprisoned many of their foes in the Region Beyond. After the quest for the Holy Grail, Merlin sets Sir Percival to guard the Region's exit. (Demon #16-20)

Jason Blood was granted the demon's immortal life span and limited magical power. But in return, Etrigan took Jason Blood's freedom and worse — his memory. Time and again, Jason's memory would return, and he would begin to exert some control over his life, only to lose the inevitable battle of wills with Etrigan. During their shared existence, Jason Blood, with Etrigan imprisoned inside him, have traveled the world.

Several accounts of their adventures have survived. In 1199, Etrigan slayed a cardinal five miles from Jerusalem. In 1566, the last ruler of the high Ottoman Empire fell to an assaults by Etrigan; the demon was again tamed by Merlin (Justice League America Annual #4)

In 1656, Etrigan and Jason Blood met with Lucifer in Hell and agreed to a scheme for the death of the pirate William Scumm. Afterwards, Lucifer advised Blood to go west in search of fortune. He came to America's old west, where in 1867 he was tracked by a group of Texas rangers. Blood killed the lawmen with Etrigan's unseen aid. (Demon #0)

Jason Blood remained in the region and was instrumental in assembling the first Justice Brigade (Johnny Thunder, Madame .44, Jonah Hex , Bat Lash, Super-Chief, and Black Bison) to confront El Diablo and Wise Owl in California. (Swamp Thing #85)

Blood eventually settled in Gotham City and became known among the metahmuan community as an expert occultist and demonologist. The Demon continues to seek liberation from his human host and recently made a bid for power on the blasted plains of Hell. He allied himself to his disenfranchised mother and Abbadon the Dark Destroyer, to try to force Merlin to rescind his spell. But Jason Blood, in an act of heroic self-sacrifice, foiled the Demon's lofty plans, and began to reassert himself in his dealings with the demon imprisoned within him.

Though Jason Blood is now stronger than ever, the demon Etrigan is angrier. At times, Blood is forced to willingly release and re-contain Etrigan with the magical phrases:

Gone gone o form of man,
Arise the demon, Etrigan!

Gone, gone o Etrigan,
Return once more in form of man!

In this capacity, Etrigan has often found himself allied with the side of good. Yet Etrigan ever has his own agenda and more often than not, his alliance with super-heroes coincides with goals of his own. Often, he willingly relinquishes his presence on Earth to Blood. Other times, Blood is forced to reassert control himself. While Blood is in control on Earth, Etrigan freely roams Hell.

Jason Blood was recently recruited by the Batman to join a substitute JLA when the main team was lost in time. (JLA #69) During this time, he protected the JLA Watchtowever against magical attack but he resigned after the crisis was ended and recommended Manitou Raven as his replacement. (JLA #76)

Notes

In pre-Crisis continuity, Merlin transformed Etrigan into Jason Blood and Blood lived for centuries with no knowledge of his demonic self. Jason and Merlin were also described as the blood brothers Iason and Myrddin in Gaiman's Books of Magic.

+ Powers

Etrigan is very strong, very fast, very mean, and has fiery demon breath. Sometimes he can shoot force bolts from his hands, and he can leap great distances. He also has a comprehensive knowledge of magic, but doesn't use it often. Etrigan has also attained the upper-class rank of Rhyming Demon. These demons speak only in rhyming sentences, which both symbolizes and adds to their power.

Jason Blood is a physically normal human who has accumulated a great deal of arcane knowledge. His magical knowledge is specialized for use in demonic control and he can cast spells to that effect.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

 

 Action #762
Showcase '96 #4
 Superman v.2 #55

» SERIES:

 The Demon v.1, 16 issues (1972-74)

 The Demon v.2, 4-issue limited series (1987)

 The Demon v.3, 58 issues (1990-95)

 Batman/Demon: A Tragedy #1 (??)

 Lobo/Demon: Helloween #1 (1996)

 Blood of the Demon, current (2005-)

» SEE ALSO:

Sentinels of Magic