"Hellchild #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Vincenzo Riccardi
Colored by Eleonora Bruni
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 23rd, 2016
Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld, has finally found love with vampire hunter, Liesel Van Helsing. The two have an odd relationship that's somewhat centered on killing demonic creatures. Hey, at least they share a hobby, right? Liesel wants to do something for her significant other and decides to bring Hades' deceased daughter back from the dead. She's setting the bar awfully high for next Christmas. There's a slight problem with this though. It seems that Hades' daughter, Angelica Blackstone, is also a vampire. What's that saying about the road to Hell?
Much of this premiere issue of Hellchild is spent with Hades and Liesel. They have a relationship not unlike Buffy and Angel. They slay together. They lay together. They share fun quips back and forth. Writer Pat Shand does a great job immediately bringing us into their world without the need for copious back story. I don't need to know how these two met or what their history is.
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Liesel comes across as very genuine. This is a vast improvement to the last time I checked out a Helsing book, where the character couldn't go two panels without dropping the word “bloody.” Shand has dramatically improved with the pacing and dialogue. He's made this character his own, so everything about her comes through as authentic.
There's a hard streak running through Liesel. She's tough and she knows it. There's a great sequence where her and a witch named Marian are working their way to the underground area of a club to begin this resurrection. A set of six panels show a similar setup with Liesel and Marian encountering various obstacles and creatures blocking their path. Artist Vincenzo Riccardi framed this scene wonderfully. By the end, Liesel is fed up with all the delays and KOs a giant like it's nothing. This really illustrates the type of character she is.
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Riccardi's pencils are clean, with much attention to detail. The characters show real emotion in their facial expressions. There are a number of little inset panels showing a detail within a larger panel. These range from a headshot of a character that's calling another on the phone or a detailed shot of an item being grabbed. These are nice touches that set the book apart.
My favorite sequence, hands down, comes at the very end of the book where a startling transformation occurs. Bone and muscle break free and blood flows freely as a creature rises. It's a violent and gory set of panels that leads to a great single-page shot to close out the issue.
Much of this issue of Hellchild is setup. We already know from the solicits for this issue alone that Hades' daughter is on her way back to the land of the living, so it's not much of a spoiler to know what happens by the end of the book. The creative team introduces us to all the players quickly and efficiently while moving the story along at a solid pace. We jumped right into the action and we're left craving more. We're left with an upheaval in these characters' lives that is going to make waves. Now what?
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