Friday, October 28, 2016

Review - Hellchild: The Unholy #1 (@Zenescope)


"Judas wasn't all bad."

Being the child of a good is one thing. Being the child of a god who's killed and then brought back with some vampire in you is something else entirely. In Hellchild: The Unholy #1 from Zenescope, Angelica Blackstone gets to be all of the above and then some. The issue is written by Pat Shand, illustrated by Renzo Rodriguez, colored by Walter Baiamonte and lettered by Ryan Ferrier.

Angelica Blackstone is half-vampire, half-god, and she has a hell of a lot of aggression to work out. From human sacrifice to reptilian gods to the dark and demonic powers hiding within seemingly everyday people, join the team that brought you Robyn Hood and Van Helsing for the darkest hero in the Grimm Universe!

Like many of the other Zenescope books these days, Shand drops Hellchild in the thick of things in New York City. Angelica Blackstone is making her way by scamming underground monster fighting rings and Shand wastes no time in using that to define who she is. Things get a little more interesting through Shand's introduction of the antagonist as a man clearly devoted to a very twisted faith that involves a giant snake and human sacrifices. Shand paces the book evenly, revealing bits and pieces about everyone and everything to get the reader's interest piqued. There's a third major player introduced in the book, but Shand keeps her motives a little less clear for intrigue's sake.

The artwork by Rodriguez feels pretty solid. He manages to cram in a lot during the fight club scenes, throwing a good variety of monsters and evil creatures to emphasize how seedy Angelica's life really is. The unique panel layouts across the pages also afford the book some oomph in that every page feels sufficiently action-packed. There are some points where the gore is a little overboard, but it's never so much so that you get the sense that Rodriguez is just being gratuitous. Baiamonte's colors are a dark sort of bright in that they're very bold primary colors tinged with some red.

Hellchild: The Unholy #1 is an effective first issue. Angelica's boredom is about to be relieved thanks to a mysterious stranger and and even more mysterious occultist. Shand's approach in the first issue is to reintroduce the reader to Hellchild before setting up her next big conflict and it works. Rodriguez illustrates New York City with a focus on the monsters who call it home. Hellchild: The Unholy #1 is a solid first issue that is poised to be the start of some really crazy events as it progresses.

Hellchild: The Unholy #1 is in stores now.

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