REVIEW: Hellchild #1 (of 5)

Liesel Van Helsing and her boyfriend, the god Ares, whilst out on patrol, run into a particularly strong strain of vampires.  From such benign beginnings unfolds the latest mini series from Zenescope Comics.  It seems that Liesel has a bit of an idea on how to treat her boyfriend.  Although this is a Zenescope book, the treat is not what you’d expect.  She decides to go see her witch friend and, borrowing a storyline from this seasons Arrow, decides to bring back Ares long term deceased daughter.

Pat Shand provides the story for this mini run; the start of which is pretty much how you would expect it.  There is enough monologue to help new readers along, whilst the main thrust of the story keeps the interest of previous fans.  The relationship between  Liesel and Ares is one of the keys to this series success; Shand does well with a, at least at this point, limited page count.  That said, Shand works best with a crowd, which is why his work on Grimm is better than this.  Dialogue here, mainly due to a lack of characters involved, does it’s job but at times treats the characters as idiots, spelling out things they should already know which in turn, makes the reader look like an idiot.

The art is supplied by Vincenzo Riccardi who has done a few issues for Zenescope.  As such, very much like the writing, you know what you are going to get.  I have said before that there seems to be a “house style” regarding Zenescope and Riccardi fits their bill.  His work here is quite dynamic, having characters moving from panel to panel  and around the page with some pace.  The problem here is that characters seem to lose a bit of cohesion.  Riccardi makes up for this with some strong expressive facial moments pretty much from page one.  If it is true that Zenescope has a “house style”, then one of the qualities that they should be recognised for is the quality of the colors on show, here provided by Eleonora Bruni.

Zenescope seem to be able to churn these types of books out on a whim and that’s kind of what it this book feels like, just another book.  This is a bit of a slap in the face for one of the hardest working guys, Pat Shand, in the comics business.  Still, with quantity there must be quality.  I would rather Shand remain on a team book rather than work a smaller cast, especially with a story that also feels a more than a little regurgitated.

(W) Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco (A) Antonio Bifulco (CA) Edgar Salazar
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