"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Book II - The Chosen" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Heavy Metal
Written by Michael Mendheim, Mike Kennedy, and Sean Jaffe
Illustrated by Simon Bisley
2012, 80 Pages
Trade Paperback released on August 29th, 2012
The end of the world continues to unravel in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In Helldiver, we were introduced to Adam Cahill, the descendent of the Solomon who protected two of the seven seals of Hell. Stripped of those seals, he makes the ultimate sacrifice, killing himself to go to Hell and prevent the Four Horsemen from riding forth to earth. He needs to put the band together first and that's what the bulk of The Chosen is about. Cahill assembles a team of sinners that would be a match for Death, Famine, War, and Pestilence. Of course, the pickings are slim, but each is seeking redemption and this is the only way they're going to get it.
We were introduced to Jessica Grace in Book I, but this time around we meet Lucas Hand, the former reverend-turned-serial-killer, and Senator Jordan Osbourne, the power hungry man who might have caused this whole mess. Cahill seeks each of them out, opening their eyes to the truth and freeing them from the never-ending punishments that they've been sentenced to in Hell. They all go through a similar process, but it's clear that they're not ready to work together, let alone take on the Four Horsemen. While I understand that the gathering of this group is necessary to move the plot along, it felt a little slow at times. We see the same basic set up three times (once in Helldiver and twice here) as each member of the team joins. All of this is needed to move these characters to a position where they're ready to prevent the end of the world.
One thing that stays pretty constant is how badass Adam Cahill is. He swoops in and hands out swift ass-kickings whenever he needs to. He personally picks up each one of the team members and doesn't rely on the help of the others when doing so. This is great for him but it obviously don't work as a team building exercise so the group is pretty disjointed. Adam's connection to Osbourne amps up the story a bit as it brings up a lot of possibilities. It also throws a huge monkey wrench into everything.
Simon Bisley returns for more amazing artwork in The Chosen. His designs for the Horsemen are insane. They are brutal and monstrous and they work so damn well on the page. Of all of them, I like Famine the best. He has this almost scarecrow look to him with a big striped top hat and ultra-thin arms and legs, but what makes him especially scary is the giant fanged mouth in his stomach. Bisley's work feels epic in scale, especially when the group descends to the bridge that leads to our world from Hell. There's fire and brimstone and all manner of devastation surrounding the area.
My only issue with the artwork is that most of the pages look like they were purposefully run through some sort of filter. Think Instagram for comics. It's not on every page, but there are these harsh lines that run down the sides of many of them, giving the book the appearance of something far older, as if you just found this on a long forgotten shelf at your local shop. This is completely unnecessary and takes away from Bisley's awesome work.
The Chosen is the second book in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trilogy from creator Michael Mendheim. There were some slow points throughout the comic as the team was assembled, but it's all for a greater cause. This is all leading up to the big finale as Adam and his group try to save humanity from complete and utter destruction as the final seals are broken and the Horsemen are released into the world. I know that Adam is ready, but I'm not yet confident in his crew. I'm very interested to see how all these pieces will fit together in the final chapters.