Review - Hellchild Blood Money #1 (@Zenescope)

"You came highly recommended by a colleague."

Good help is hard to find. Hellchild in Hellchild Blood Money #1 from Zenescope Entertainment is the exception to the rule. The issue is written by Ralph Tedesco, illustrated by Butch Mapa, colored by Dijjo and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Angelica Blackstone aka "Hellchild" takes a high paying gig as a bodyguard for the lowlife son of a wealthy politician. But some jobs aren't worth the money as Angelica soon finds that the men after her client are involved in something so disturbing that she can't help but get pulled in.

Tedesco is starting slowly in the issue, building up the world for Hellchild to inhabit without completely getting into what makes her who she is. She's essentially characterized as a bodyguard/mercenary who seems to be capable of intimidating and handling herself, but unfortunately the first issue doesn't really show her in action. That's not entirely a bad thing as it allows Tedesco to keep things somewhat suspenseful and not reveal all his cards in the first issue. The premise of the issue is pretty standard and Tedesco takes shots at the wealthy with reckless abandon, relying on the corrupt politician stereotypes as a foil for Hellchild's character. Tedesco's dialogue moves things along in this regard as well, emphasizing some of the vapid conversations that the wealthy seem to engage in on a daily basis.

Mapa's artwork is simple and clean. The linework very clearly defines each of the characters and makes things pretty easy for the reader to discern what's happening. This is further emboldened by Mapa's decision to essentially do nothing with the backgrounds for most of the panels as Mapa instead focuses almost exclusively on the faces of the characters. Panels are easy to follow and abet in presenting the simple perspectives of the characters, also doing a good job of capturing the violence without being too graphic about it. Dijjo's colors are pretty simplistic yet effective.

Hellchild Blood Money #1 is a setup issue that doesn't trip over itself trying to set everything up. Hellchild is someone who seems to be worthy of fearing, but the reasons for that will have to be revealed in future issues. Tedesco's narrative is fast-paced and gets things set up for things to come. Mapa's illustrations are clean enough for making everything easy to follow for the reader. Hellchild Blood Money #1 is a simple start to what could become a more complex series.

Hellchild Blood Money #1 is available April 3.