As we enter the holiday season it is only fitting that AHOY Comics drop us off a great gift in the form of High Heaven #4. The variety that AHOY are becoming known for is in full effect here with both prose and comic offerings. This month there is the next chapter of High Heaven and Hashtag: Danger written by Tom Peyer with art by Greg Scott and Chris Giarrusso respectively. The short stories come from Carol Lay, Johanna Beate Stumpf, Mark Russell and Matthew Sharpe with illustrations provided by Alan Robinson, Danny Schwartz and Cayetano Valenzuela. As always, AHOY are shining bright like that star atop the Christmas tree with such varied content at such a ridiculously competitive price.
For the main High Heaven chapter David finds himself receiving answers to the questions he’s had but will they quell his confusion any or simply add more questions? Readers will finally get a glimpse of the Hell that they’ve heard so much about as well. Hashtag: Danger is becoming increasingly sitcom like but in the good way that balances the bleakness of a story like High Heaven.
The issue is worth the buy alone for the new chapter in High Heaven. Peyer, Siau and Scott have created one of the most original stories in 2018 and possibly the last decade with High Heaven. Each month it feels like it must have peaked but each month also surpasses the last. It’s been a long time since a comic (let alone any episodic piece of fiction) has generated this much interest in a month to month basis.
While the chapter is incredibly and shows no signs of slowing down, it is the extra content this month that really stands out. Transformation by Carol Lay is an incredibly original short story that deserves a lot of praise. It’s the kind of smart sci-fi that fans have been clamoring for, especially in comic books (even if it is prose).
“A New Week” by newcomer to fiction Johanna Beate Stumpf is spectacular in that it is a fairly basic coming of age story that manages to fit in perfectly in a comic book like High Heaven. Told from the point of view of a teenage girl, it’s a great melancholic look at what it’s like to become an adult and what that might mean to different people.
It’s not a surprise that Mark Russell wrote something inventive but his prose story told through the format of emails is fantastic in its use of both tension and humor. And last but certainly not least is the wonderful “Temporarily Sidelined” by Matthew Sharpe that rounds the issue off perfectly.
It feels like every month with High Heaven, ‘The Bad’ section is a cop out with something vague like “it’s just so good it’s hard to criticize” but that is honestly the case. You need to really go over each page with a comical magnifying glass to find anything even remotely negative and if you need to go to that trouble for a critique then clearly AHOY are doing something right.
AHOY are arguably the best publisher of 2018, and High Heaven is possibly their best book if not THE best comic book of 2018. You won’t find this variety and value anywhere else.