To be released April 18th, AfterShock comics has a new series out that takes a plunge into hell. It’s an adaptation of Dante’s Inferno told via an old woman’s perspective as she attempts to save her family from Hell.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview!
Why does this matter?
AfterShock has been firing on all cylinders for over a year now and there’s no reason this new series won’t be another comic to put in their win column. It also deals heavily with real world authors and social icons making this quite a delight if you’re a fan of reading and culture.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The colors here are not quite what the final copy looks like.
The story opens with an old woman whose life is in disarray, and artist Kyle Charles does a great job fitting little details in that help us see that disarray rather than being told about it. The counters are a mess, the woman eats from a serving dish, and pictures hang crooked from the walls. The woman soon meets James Blake, who ends up facilitating her trip to the nine circles of Hell. You get the sense this old woman is like many of us near the end with no loved ones left with a desperate need to find some purpose in life. I suppose her best move is to go to Hell, which she in fact does.
As the story progresses it’s quite clear writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson are lovers of literature and culture. As soon as James Blake is introduced speaking in rhyme, it’s clear lovers of verbiage and dialogue will enjoy the heck out of this tale. This issue gets the old woman only so far through the circles of Hell, but on her journey, she meets writers like Edgar Allan Poe and John Milton with some celebrity musician cameos too. These characters give the story a base in reality and allow the writers to speak for long lost greats. If you’re a lover of fiction and art, you’ll enjoy the references.
The story is drawn quite well by Charles with colors by Dee Cunniffe (with Jordan Boyd coloring the cover). Many of the scenes in Hell use a 9-panel layout with a beautiful double-page splash to transition the reader through the old woman’s memories. The use of color in each circle (like blue ice and purple sky in Limbo) helps establish an atmosphere that’s otherworldly too.
A meeting of minds.
It can’t be perfect can it?
You never get a good sense of who the main character is as she’s more of surrogate for the viewer rather than a fleshed out character. This is possibly on purpose, but it did make it difficult to care about this woman’s drive to find her family. It should be added she’s pretty rude to the classic philosophers, so that made me dislike her even more! I suspect there is some twist to her story–maybe she belongs in Hell or has dementia and has forgotten who her family is–but it still reduces the reader’s urgency to keep turning the pages.
Is It Good?
This is a good first issue that plays with language in a way you just don’t see in comics today. The visuals of hell, and the many references to great writers and artists will please English majors and writers alike.