"Hellicious #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Starburns Industries Press
Written by Alan C. Medina & Mina Elwell
Illustrated by Kit Wallis
Colored by Jio Butler
Lettered by Micah Myers
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 19th, 2018
Cherry has a new best friend, but she has to hide him from her mom and grandpa. She's not really supposed to have him. No, it's not a puppy. It's goth rocker Briggy Bundy. Oh, and Cherry lives in Hell, so she had to kind of kill Briggy to get him to come over. Minor details. Now she's trying to find a safe place for him to hang out so they can play together forever, which is easier said than done, especially since those creepy Bone Demons are lurking everywhere.
In case you couldn't figure it out from that opening paragraph, Hellicious is a darkly humorous comic. Cherry has this infectious enthusiasm and I think that's part of why Briggy is going along with all of this, even after his body is literally ripped apart...repeatedly. Cherry has carefully controlled his exposure to the afterlife, so this is all he knows. He asks questions, but the little girl just swats them away to focus on all the fun they're going to have. When I put it like that, it sounds more like Misery and a whole lot more terrifying.
This issue is a fun exploration of Hell as Cherry bounces around looking for places for Briggy. We see all kinds of new and bizarre corners of the underworld, mostly in fleeting glimpses. It's clear that writers Alan C. Medina and Mina Elwell have thought out the wide world of Hell. I'd love to see a big map of all the crazy locales at work here.
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Some of the visuals in Hellicious would be nauseating if it weren't for Kit Wallis' artwork. There are scenes where Briggy's intestines are spewing out of his body in the grossest way possible, but it looks more silly than gory. It's like Wile E. Coyote level of violence, with a whole lot more blood. This extends out to the rest of the book too, as we see demons strangled, cut in half, and stabbed, just to name a few.
The wide-eyed excitement of Cherry contrasts nicely with the gruff seriousness of Briggy. He smiles on occasion, but he's mostly just trying to come to grips with everything around him. Cherry is his guide and he's put his faith in her. This is what makes their bizarre friendship so enjoyable. Cherry could say the craziest thing and Briggy just kind of goes with it because he doesn't know any better. I have a feeling that's only going to last for so long.
Jio Butler's colors are sickeningly sweet. Sure, there's hellfire and blood, but what really stands out is the gritty orange of Minos the Judge, the host of the popular underworld game show, The Wheel of Pain. You can practically hear his teeth grind together in his huge and frightening grin. His body looks like an orange that's been out in the sun for far too long. His skin is pulled back tight to the point where the bright lights are reflecting off his face like a mirror. This creates a nice juxtaposition against the drab colors of his zombie audience.
Even Minos' speech is orange. Letterer Micah Myers matches the font up well to the character's overall demeanor. There's this gritty quality to the lettering as a whole which lines up with the setting. This is Hell, after all. It's far from a pleasant place.
Hellicious is a hilarious comic that somehow makes Hell look fun. It's packed to the brim with dark humor in the best possible ways. It's like a Looney Tunes cartoon set in the underworld.