"Satanic Hell #1 - #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Grigoris Douros
Illustrated by Kevin Enhart and Newel Anderson
When the state of Texas falls on hard times, the government sells just about everything to the church, creating an authoritarian Christian regime that would make the town in Footloose seem tame. This seems like a perfect time for the metal band, Satanic Hell, to take a tour through Lone Star State. Now Death Priest, Dante, and Exodus must stay one step ahead of the holy rollers while antagonizing them at every turn.
The world of Satanic Hell is definitely a satire, but the scary thing is that it doesn't seem that farfetched. You could see a town or two rising up and throwing out the laws of man to respect only those found in the Holy Bible. What the federal government has to say about an entire state effectively making its own rules, no one knows. There's a satirical bent to this comic, but it comes across as too serious. The bible thumpers are machine-like in their quest to purify the area of all things fun. There's not a central villain to the story. Instead, there's a large group of generic Christians that arbitrarily decide what's right.
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The band members are similarly faceless, filling the stereotypes of your basic metalheads. They enjoy poking fun at the church groups, but there's no real mission involved. They roll into the area with a few dollars to their name and quickly become public enemies numbers one through three, as their shows make people dance and generally feel good about stuff that's not Jesus. Satanic Hell gets something like a purpose in the third issue, albeit a pretty vague one. I expect they'll plan to take the fight directly to whoever is in charge in Texas.
Kevin Enhart's artwork is a little rough around the edges. The forms are rather blocky or awkward. There is one really great looking panel in the first issue, showing a girl using a laptop with a huge demon looming behind her. There's a mirror image beneath her, but instead of a beautiful young woman, it's a rotting corpse. This is a brilliant shot that I wish there were more of throughout the book. It plays to Enhart's strengths and brings more of a horror element to the story.
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Satanic Hell starts out like a cross between Footloose and Stephen King's Desperation before meandering about at a sex store and a “Promise Holders Rally.” It's kind of a one-note joke showing how crazy religion can be when taken to the extreme. It's not quite a satire like Toe Tag Riot, instead falling somewhere in the middle, like it's not sure what it will be just yet.