Literary fans should set their sights on AfterShock Comics’ new series Her Infernal Descent. It’s a story about an old woman named Lynn trying to find her family among the rings of Hell with the help of William Blake. The first issue was a good introduction and second issue cuts to where we left off with the old woman stuck on the current level.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Lynn and William Blake confront the anxiety-ridden mad judge of hell, Franz Kafka. Lynn descends further down the fiery depths into the circle of gluttony, where Cerberus awaits with a hunger of his own. Plus, a guest appearance by the world’s most beloved author of suspense and mystery!
Why does this matter?
Those who love stories about Hell should check this comic out. It not only adds its own little wrinkles to Hell but updates it with literary and pop culture figures who would most likely be there. The story also has a great literary angle with William Blake leading the charge.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Characters like Blake, Kafka, and Nietzsche all pop up in this story and writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson do a great job capturing their personalities. If you are a lover of novels and writers you’re going to love the use of language in this comic. That includes Blake’s wonderful rhyming which continues to be a driving force for the narrative. I’m not quite sure why these literary figures are present in the narrative (maybe Lynn is a big reader) but it’s a fun element that works well with Dante’s Inferno.
The art is at times horrific but also disturbed which is a testament to Kyle Charles’s work here. Hell should be messed up visually and Charles captures the gross nature of gluttony with naked obese pig people running around. There’s also an interesting representation of computer addiction represented by naked people who have monitor heads. What they say is freaky and reflective of people’s addiction to getting followers and attention online. There are some incredible beasts later on in the issue too that may just stick with you by how disturbing they are.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m at a loss for what is going on in every scene. That’s partly due to the trumped up dialogue in how old dead literary figures talk, but also with the chaos of Hell itself. I continue to not understand Lynn beyond her desire to find her family. There isn’t much in the way of character work so she’s a bit flat and uninteresting. That makes Hell itself the real draw of the story–and the literary figures if that’s your thing–even though this is a character driven story at its core.
Is it good?
I liked this second issue even if a lot of it was incomprehensible. The visuals do a good job making Hell a very scary and strange place while the mission at hand is always pressing.