"Hellchild: The Unholy #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Renzo Rodriguez
Colored by Walter Baiamonte
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 5th, 2017
Let's set the stage here. Hellchild, the half vampire / half god / all-attitude warrior, is standing in the middle of a supernatural battle royale. On one side is Ourobouros, a snake demon creature, leading an army of assorted monsters. On the other is Prick, a big, muscular dude with razor sharp teeth and a few hellhounds. At Hellchild's feet is the corpse of Jezebel, the mysterious woman who had hired her to kill Ourobouros. That script got flipped and now we're going to see just how much bloodshed can be packed into one issue.
This chapter of Hellchild: The Unholy shows the manipulative side of the title character. Up until this point, she's been like a blunt object, hurtling herself at enemies with no real tact. Her actions here display a plan that has some actual thought behind it. There were some definite risks involved, but she hedged her bets to make sure she came out on the winning side.
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Despite this, I'm still not entirely sold on Hellchild. She has more angst than me when I was in high school, and I wore nothing but black band t-shirts and JNCO jeans, so I know angst. No one understands her and that includes herself. She's returned to the land of the living after being dead for centuries, so she's struggling to find her place in this world and with these newfound abilities. The one thing that's certain is that Hellchild is really good at fighting and killing people, in no particular order. She enjoys it and it's a skill that she excels at.
The end of the book shows a new direction for the character that hopefully puts her on the track to figuring some things out for herself. It's not a story of redemption yet. It's more about a confused kid who gets the right teacher that understands her. In this case, the teacher is murdering monsters.
Speaking of monsters, you have to give it up for artist Renzo Rodriguez. There is a countless array of creatures rampaging through this book. I spotted some notable ones, such as the Donnie Darko rabbit and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The variety is damn impressive. No two monsters look alike.
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The beasts are matched in quality with the gore. Rodriguez was born to draw horror comics. There is an epic beheading shot that takes up an entire page. It is absolutely incredible. It's not a traditional beheading either, right at the neck. It's done as a diagonal cut, so it's sloppier, leaving a quarter of the jaw and not much else. The blade cuts through like a hot knife through butter, cleaving this pour soul in two. What's even better is the aftermath, which I will not spoil here. Suffice it to say, if you thought the monsters and gore were crazy, just wait until you see what comes next.
Walter Baiamonte's colors complement Rodriguez's artwork well, especially with all that blood. It's practically dripping off the page. The climax takes place in the early hours of the morning, just before sunrise. Baiamonte captured this timing perfectly with this nice glow. It could have been full of darkness and shadows. Instead, the battle is out in the open so you can see each punch, stab, and bite in exquisite detail.
Hellchild: The Unholy is a gore-filled fight to the death packed to the brim with monsters. The artwork alone will delight any horror fan, especially eagle-eyed readers. The title character is still rather grating, lashing out at everyone around her. Sure, she's been through some shit, but maybe she just needs a hug.