"The Hangman #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Circle Comics
Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Felix Ruiz
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 20th, 2016
Mike Minetta is dead. It turns out that was just the first part of his job interview. He wakes up in a prison filled with his past victims from when he was serving as a mob hitman before being introduced to Satan himself. Any normal man would be crapping his pants right about now, but not Mike. He straight up tells Satan to go fuck himself. That's the kind of badass we're dealing with here.
It's no secret that Mike becomes the new Hangman, serving as a force of vengeance, sending evil souls down to Hell. This issue gets into the job offer and lays out the details of this arrangement. Mike doesn't have to clock in and out, but it's not like this gig has a great insurance package. He doesn't see the benefit of all this which is why he stands up to Satan in the first place. He seems to have all the cards...until the devil shows him the one thing he cared about while he was alive. It's really an expert negotiation.
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Writer Frank Tieri expertly outlines all of this. Despite there being a lot of exposition to get through, it doesn't come across like Satan is suddenly giving you a history lesson. The devil is always in control, manipulating his appearance and everything around him to tell the story and get what he wants. You can see him try a few different tactics once he realizes that he's not getting through to Mike.
Felix Ruiz's design for Satan is top notch. At first you get the intimidating demon with wings, horns, and cloven feet. That's not going to work on Mike Minetta though. This quickly transforms into a man with a goatee in a suit and tie. He's a businessman. This is something that Mike can respect and relate to. Although this new appearance is that of a normal human being, Satan never shakes the aura of evil around him. He gives off a very menacing vibe, confirming that you definitely do not want to mess with him. At one point he sits atop a throne made of writhing bodies. The Iron Throne would weep if it saw this thing.
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Later on, Satan loses his temper and the claws...or rather teeth come out. It's an instant reminder of what this creature is and what he's capable of doing at a moment's notice. The whole shocking sequence happens very quickly, over the span of a single page.
Satan also has a slight reddish hue, which is a nice touch from colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick. He's not overtly red, but he's definitely not as pale as Mike. When the devil reveals the full landscape of Hell complete with an erupting volcano and winged demons flying through the air, the whole page pops with vibrant color. It's a real standout image.
The Hangman continues to explore the dark, supernatural corner of this world, serving as a worthy addition to the Dark Circle Comics lineup. It pulls no punches with its gore, while pulling you into an intriguing story about a character you either love to hate or hate to love. It has some similarities to other titles like The Spectre and Spawn, but stands entirely on its own.