Satanic Hell Review: Red State Meets Spinal Tap
The initial concept behind Zeno Telos Press’ “Satanic Hell” isn’t awe-inspiring. The thought of a comic that centers on a band seems old and frail. The idea has been done before countless times in other mediums. Comics that focus on politics are bland too. The fact that every comic book writer nowadays tries to throw in his or her political opinions, rather than create characters that are compelling, hurts the few writers that have a real message.
But after a few pages, the Spawn-inspired art and witty writing get a hold of you and don’t let go. Like a perfectly blended combination of Kevin Smith’s “Red State” and the cult classic “Spinal Tap,” the first issue of this comic is a winner.
Writer Grigoris Douros does his job in showing a Texas that has been lost. Overrun by religious leaders, the state is void of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, big steaks and even the sultry Jessica Simpson. A place of religious worship and absolute rule, it’s not the place for a down on their luck metal band. But after a call from an underground promoter, the band is promised an opportunity of a lifetime- their big break. Can they make it in the uber-conservative and dangerous state long enough to play a gig?
The first issue of the seven-part mini-series makes you wonder.
Artists Kevin Enhart and Jimmy Kerast paint an image of Texas that feels borrowed, but not stolen from the work of Greg Capullo. Sharp facial expressions with blurry features make for an imaginative and wild car ride. The opening page is absolutely beautiful and will make any seasoned reader think they’re about to read the comic book version of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been.”
Through the savvy writing and psychedelic yet gritty visuals, you get a debut comic that not only caters to the more sophisticated comic book reader, you get a literal tale that is also enjoyable. Those that see the political undertones will embrace them. Those that do not will see a more serious version of a “Scooby Doo” meets “Metalocalypse” story.
Lets face it- independent comic book companies sprout up like weeds in dog parks nowadays due to the cost-effect ways digital publishing caters to young creators. While most of the work is sub-standard and there’s a reason it never gets past the web, “Satantic Hell” would be a nice addition to a mature imprint of a major comic book company.
Smart, edgy and paced-well, Douros and the artistic team have their act together in issue one.
For more information on the comic click here.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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