"Heavenly Blues #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Scout Comics
Written by Ben Kahn
Illustrated by Bruno Hidalgo
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 7th, 2018
We've seen Isaiah, Erin, and the gang plan and plot the heist of their lives – or rather, afterlives – as they figure out how they're going to steal something from Heaven. Now they're in the midst of the plan, adapting quickly and moving even faster.
Heavenly Blues is getting to the most exciting part of any robbery story. We don't know how they're going to pull this off, so every twist and turn comes as a total surprise. A major one in this chapter deals with a betrayal that I did not see coming, although there are some additional nuances to it that are later revealed. Moments like these heighten the tension considerably. Writer Ben Kahn has laid the groundwork with these characters in previous issues, making us deeply invested in their lives. This chapter is one big payoff.
Each issue has spent some time showcasing the backstory of one of the characters. This one is the outlaw, Coin Counter Turner. His is an interesting tale. He was given a death sentence, diagnosed with an incurable disease during the Old West. Instead of spending his last days moping about, he decides to go on a crime spree, stealing and killing his way through towns. I don't remember that particular stage in the grieving process.
Although he's died and has literally been through Hell, Turner doesn't seem all that reformed. His experiences during his shortened time on Earth showed him to live life to the fullest. That's exactly what he's doing now that he's dead. Despite his reckless nature, he's still reliable, which makes him a very useful member of the team.
The flashbacks to Turner's time as an outlaw have a different shade to them, like you're looking at old photographs. It works well with the time period and setting, as if everything is a little washed out. This contrasts nicely with the vibrant colors of Heaven that really feels like paradise.
One effect that works very well in Heavenly Blues is the “halo” around the angels. It appears more like a flame dancing around their heads, almost like they're living candles. Normally it's a yellowish hue, but it changes with their moods. We see this with the massive Uriel, who flies into a rage when he learns of the upcoming heist. His face is shrouded with red energy, as if he's about to go Super Saiyan.
I love the way artist Bruno Hidalgo incorporates the sound effects into the artwork. It puts an extra emphasis on these actions as the letters sprawl outward. Hidalgo has demonstrated in every issue that he knows a thing or two about great fight choreography. This is balanced by the close-up, personal moments that showcase individual character traits.
Heavenly Blues has been steadily building since issue one. Things really get going here and I'm super excited to see where they go next. Can this group of misfits pull off the heist of this or any lifetime? The rewards are huge, but so are the stakes. This is a biblical heist and we're routing for the bad guys.