Review - Obey Me #0 (@DynamiteComics)

"Let's go Monty. We have work to do."

Interacting with souls on a daily basis can be very exhausting. For someone like Vanessa in Obey Me #0 from Dynamite Comics, that daily grind is made better by a good companion in Monty. The issue is written by Mario Mentasti, illustrated by Ben Herrera, colored by Emmanuel Ordaz Torres and lettered by Justin Birch.

Locked in a millennial conflict, the forces of Heaven and Hell wage war in the Material Realm using servants and mortals as proxies. Vanessa Held is a low-ranking lesser demon serving Ammon, the Archduke of Greed. She takes part in missions to further her boss' plans while collecting the souls of those who had sold their soul to him. Join Vanessa and her Hellhound companion Monty through their assignments, becoming more powerful while taking on demons, corrupted humans and more. A wicked Mafia Don sold his soul to the devil and thought he could escape the pact. Ammon, the demon who sealed the pact is not having it, so he has sent one of his operatives to take the soul that is his property. Vanessa Held is tasked to find the target and reap his soul and for that purpose, she will be joined by Monty, a demon who committed a great sin and was punished, becoming a Hellhound, a familiar of sorts for younger demons, to serve as a mentor and guide.

Acting as a companion to the video game of the same name, Obey Me #0 allows Mentasti to introduce the reader to Vanessa Held and her partner Monty. The duo have something of a perfect strangers vibe and the dialogue seems to reflect an uneasiness with one another at first that quickly turns into trust by the end of the issue. Mentasti spends most of the issue following along with the duo on a job and Vanessa's powers seem to be something of a mystery. Aside from the rapport between the two main characters, the rest of the issue seems to play out in a pretty standard fashion as far as these types of books go. Tonally, Mentasti is going for something that feels slightly irreverent and comedic in its approach to violence.

Herrera's artwork pays homage to video games in a way, seeming to evoke a cel-shaded style that helps bridge the gap between the two mediums. Vanessa is illustrated in a way that's very close to her video game counterpart, affording a seamless continuity between the game and comic that allows for a sense of shared enjoyment. Herrera blacks out the gutters which frame the panels well and allow the brightly rendered colors of Torres to pop even more. Considering the level of violence throughout the issue, Herrera doesn't let things get too graphic (save for a severed head or two). The book definitely isn't intended to be an all-ages comic for sure, but it's still nice that Herrera doesn't distract the reader with an abundance of gore.

Obey Me #0 is a pretty slick and fun issue. Vanessa and Monty make an unlikely duo, but it's clear by the end of the issue that they've got the start of a great working relationship. Mentasti's script is fast-paced and effective at demonstrating to the reader the fundamental concepts of the game the comic is tying into. Herrera's artwork does well by evoking the game itself. Obey Me #0 will likely be a great complement to those players enjoying the game it's based on.

Obey Me #0 is available now.