"Pestilence: A Story of Satan #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Oleg Okunev
Colored by Rob Schwager
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 30th, 2018
In 1353, the Black Death ravaged Europe, leaving piles of corpses in its wake. It was not just a plague that spread through the continent, but a zombie virus that brought the dead back to life with a hunger for human flesh. The Church covered it up and Roderick Helms tried to expose this sinister detail, but failed. He did manage to find a cure for the disease in the form of the Holy Grail. Now something far darker is rising as Satan himself prepares to strike, forcing Roderick out of retirement to battle the forces of evil.
If all that didn’t get you excited for Pestilence: A Story of Satan, you should check your pulse. This historical horror series hits the ground running. Granted, it has the previous storyline to build from, but it does not miss a beat here. You have to wonder how the creative team could possibly top hordes of zombies and then they pull in Satan, making it clear they’re not screwing around.
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Artist Oleg Okunev already proved he could draw terrifying zombies with the last series. We get a bit of that here and they’re as unsettling as before. I am continually astonished by the immense variety of Okunev’s crowd scenes. There are all kinds of people included and in the case of zombies, in various stages of decomposition. This one even has an undead dog.
The real treat in Pestilence: A Story of Satan is the Dark One himself. I haven’t seen the devil rendered in this way before. We don’t see his full persona just yet. Instead, we see him from the side and from behind, which allows us to fill in the gruesome details of his face. What we do see though, it terrifying. Satan’s body is covered in screaming faces. His back bulges outward, like it’s covered in pulsing blisters, but each one is a miniature person or demon screaming in agony.
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Colorist Rob Schwager gives Satan this deadly red hue that really reinforces everything we know about the being. His skin looks burned, but not by sunlight, as it’s never seen that. It’s burned by hellfire and pain to create this evil, dark red that would probably be hot to the touch.
Satan’s powerful presence even extends to the lettering. Marshall Dillon has these special balloons for Satan that are surrounded by fire. The font is rough and angry. You can imagine the gravelly voice that would come out of such a creature.
Pestilence: A Story of Satan ups the ante considerably from the first series. This was already an epic story with horrors big and small. Writer Frank Tieri is taking it to the next level here and he’s pulling no punches.