Monday, September 18, 2017

Review - Dominatrix: Hellbent in Heels #1 (@arcanastudio)


"Ugh...I hate my life!"

Heroes come in different shapes and sizes. Some wear capes, some wear masks and some wear latex body-suits with whips and AREN'T named Selina Kyle. The latter is the main character in Dominatrix: Hellbent in Heels #1 from Arcana Studio. The issue is written/lettered by Erik Hendrix, illustrated by Kewber Baal and colored by Chandran Ponnusamy.

From the mind of Gene Simmons, rock legend and media icon, be prepared to turn another cheek with Dominatrix. When an asset goes missing in Hawaii, Dominique is enlisted to go undercover into the world illegal arms and aloha. When investigating thugs and guns, the last thing she expects to find are extra-dimensional threats! Polish the vinyl, pucker up, and get ready for an @$$ kicking. You'll thank us later.

From the start of the issue, Hendrix immediately sets the tone for both the character and the series through a very aggressive conversation. Both of the main characters (Dominatrix and Doug) have a past relationship that is very much predicated on love/hate; Hendrix excels at exploiting that dynamic. From there, the characters are on a mission that brings together equal parts espionage and action for good measure. The script is pretty heavy on dialogue and introspection with Hendrix effectively using all of it to give the reader a glimpse into their fast-paced world. And there's also enough within the first issue that allows Hendrix to establish the stakes of the characters as well as the obstacles they'll have to overcome.

Baal does a great job on the artwork primarily in his approach that adds an almost whimsical take to the proceedings. Dominatrix is illustrated in a way that emphasizes her ability to act like a boss in any situation that's thrown at her. What's really interesting is Baal's decision to empty the gutters which allows the reader to focus more on the characters' appearance. The ending of the issue throws in something of a comic book feel in the characters who show up, but Baal manages to make them feel like they could be real. There's an abundance of reds and blacks in the entire book courtesy of Ponnusamy that adds a sense of violence to the otherwise lush green of Hawaii.

It's fitting that a book from the mind of Gene Simmons would be as candid and outrageous as Dominatrix: Hellbent in Heels #1 is. Dominatrix is a no-holds barred character who doesn't take guff from anyone. Hendrix writes a great story that effectively establishes the character and her current mission. Baal's artwork is solid and doesn't take itself too seriously all things considered. Dominatrix: Hellbent in Heels #1 is a pretty fun first issue that has a lot going for it and should be a fun ride.

Dominatrix: Hellbent in Heels #1 is available November 29.

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