This article contains BRIGAYDE spoilers.
A few years ago, I did a series on Fanboys of the Universe where I examined several of the main characters of Patrick Fillion’s Class Comics. With the release of issue 2 of “The Brigayde”, I’ve found myself wanting to do something similar with the character of Devilhound. He doesn’t have his own comic, unlike the other characters I profiled, and he’s mostly been a guest star in other titles. Still, there are several aspects about him I find fascinating.
Devilhound makes his first appearance in Rapture #5. His real name is Blaine, a rich young man whose heart was broken by a cheating, gold-digging husband. Blaine ends up meeting an old man who promises him that he can help him take vengeance through the use of an enchanted devil’s tail that attaches itself to Blaine’s body. Now known as Devilhound, he punishes unfaithful lovers with hellfire.
The most interesting thing about Devilhound is that tail. Unlike other Class Comics heroes with tails — Camili-Cat, Diablo, Incubus — Devilhound’s tail does not start at the base of his spine. Instead, his tail takes root inside his sphincter. This might seem like a purely aesthetic choice, but it’s ramifications are much deeper (excuse the pun). The location of Devilhound’s tail prevents him from being a bottom, and that’s significant.
Devilhound is a metaphor for the toxic, “no femmes” masculinity all too common in parts of the gay community. Devilhound cannot be penetrated: he can only penetrate others. It mirrors the attitude that bottoming is degrading and feminizing, and therefore an indication of weakness and vulnerability. It’s telling that the first time Devilhound uses his power to punish his own philandering husband, it’s delivered through a brutal, violent round of sex completely devoid of romance.
At the same time, Devilhound is aware of the tail’s malevolent power and tries to contain it when he isn’t trying to remove it. It binds him to the man who gave it to him and, as we find out later, other beings even more sinister. Attempts to forcibly remove the tail result in disaster and only make things that much worse. Likewise, the femmephobia that so many gay men exhibit is difficult to extricate from gay culture at large. It can’t simply be excised with one motion. Like Blaine coming to terms with the dark powers he’s grafted to, this attitude can only be removed once it is examined internally.
Devilhound has an encounter in the second issue of the Brigade with recurring Class villain Jon Dazy, which further reinforces this idea. Jon Dazy’s power is the control of plants and an ability to produce pollens and flowers that work as aphrodisiacs and sedatives. In the Cube series from years prior, Dazy turns hero Diablo into a compliant sex slave through repeated use of these powers. The biggest threat Dazy poses is that he is able to make heroes much stronger and larger than himself vulnerable and exploitable.
When Devilhound and Dazy meet, Dazy ends up binding Devilhound with vines before moving in for a deep kiss, which Devilhound resists briefly before returning. Dazy didn’t even need to use his flower power to get that to happen, either. On some level, Devilhound WANTS to be vulnerable because he knows that only then will he free himself of the powerful hold the tail has him.
It’s going to be interesting to see where Devilhound is led to in the future. Fillion has laid the foundation for what could be a compelling examination of the dark, limiting masculinity that infects the gay community. Will Blaine come to terms with his darkness, or will he seek to remove it entirely? While we wait, it would be a great time to examine the tail that binds us from being who we truly are.
Read more of JOHNNY M’s work and enjoy his insightful and always entertaining film reviews on the FANBOYS OF THE UNIVERSE site.