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‘In Hell We Fight Vol. 1: A Snowball’s Chance’ TPB (review)

Written by John Layman
Art by Jok
Published by Image Comics

 

In Hell We Fight collects the first five issues of the Image Comic of the same name, along with a couple of short stories with the same characters from anthology comics.

It’s another one where we don’t get an ending as the story continues on but it’s so well done that didn’t bother me as much as usual.

Toward the end, one of the characters even makes the reference, “Unfortunately, we gotta pass through the Hell of Interminable Comic Book Delays.”

At first, I wasn’t pleased with the book’s messy-looking art, by veteran South American comic book artist, Jok, but I appreciated his storytelling skills and, in time, his art grew on me, too.

Written by John Layman, In Hell We Fight is the story of a mismatched quintet traversing the literal netherworld on a most unlikely quest. All of our main characters are dead. Well, four of them, anyway. Not sure about the fifth.

The self-proclaimed leader of the group is Midori Fukada, a young “badass” girl who reminds me of Kill Bill’s relentless assassin Gogo Yubari. She was murdered by her evil father—who was also a giant dragon. She hates demons with a passion, despite…well…no spoilers.

Xander Waterford was a Huck Finn-type killed over and over by a giant demon frog. He can regurgitate useful items…sometimes.

Ernie Comstock is a little boy with a cursed ax stuck in his head. He can remove it…but it goes right back. He’s followed around by the house in which he was murdered.

Balphadagon is an awkward, friendly little demon whose father just happens to be one of the most dangerous and feared demons in Hell.

The fifth and final member of the crew is Angel…an actual angel from Heaven. The others accidentally rescue her from a demon kidnapping in their failed attempt at getting some ice cream. Returning her to Heaven becomes their quest…especially when Angel assures them there will be plenty of ice cream when they get there!

What follows is a typical quest story in which our heroes—such as they are—have to deal with a myriad of objects and obstacles that stand in their way, all the while as they are pursued by minions of the demon who had kidnapped Angel in the first place.

The growing friendship and camaraderie of the mismatched characters is the most endearing thing about In Hell We Fight. At times, it reminded me of the early adventures of Wolfman and Perez’s New Teen Titans as the characters learn about each other and the demon father of one of the members.

The Teen+ In Hell We Fight offers the reader a darkly humorous but exciting story with likable heroes and hissable villains. The unusual—to me, anyway—art actually ends up as perfect for the story, particularly Jok’s impressive depictions of dragons!

The concepts of Hell and what we see of Heaven are interestingly handled. One of my very favorite things is actually one of the variant covers at the back of the collection—one using one of the legendary prints of Hell by 19th century illustrator Gustave Dore, with additions by Jok! Another variant features one of the surrealist paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, again with an addition by Jok.

Clever ideas!

Booksteve recommends.

 

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