In Review: A Walk Through Hell #2

This Walk has me running back for more.

The cover: Agent Hunzikker kneels within a warehouse with a gun to his head. His back is to the reader and there are twelve empty shells on the ground. There’s some red coloring around the gun, suggesting that he’s pulling the trigger, again. But if he’s shot himself in the head twelve times, why is he not dead and there’s no damage to his head? This bizarre cover by Andy Clarke with Jose Villarrubia is the perfect tease for the nightmare that’s shown within. Overall grade: A

The story: Last issue Agents McGregor and Shaw walked into a warehouse looking for Agents Goss and Hunzikker. They were warned by the officer outside that whoever goes in doesn’t come out.. There was a SWAT unit that went in, saw something, and ran back to their van. They then shot each other. This installment of Garth Ennis’s horror opens with the McGregor and Shaw on the ground with the dark building. Shaw wakes first, her hand extended, reaching for something. She speaks to, seemingly, no one, “Don’t. No. No. Donnnn’t.” She restrains her reaching hand with the other and gains consciousness, seeing McGregor next to her out cold. She feels no pulse on her partner and is about to perform CPR when he jumps up. She tells him they’ve both blacked out and he’s got no pulse. She checks her phone and it’s dead. McGregor confirms he can’t find a pulse on himself and he also can’t find one on Shaw. They then hear a bullet casing hit the floor. The two try to figure out what’s occurred, but another casing hitting the floor has them get up to investigate. What they find on Page 6 is nothing anyone could have expected. It’s the most unreal thing I’ve seen in a comic. The story then shifts between the past and the present, with McGregor and Shaw trying to keep it together as they witness the impossible and the agents working on their previous case. What that earlier case involves is catching a ring of child kidnappers, though it takes a turn. There may be a relationship between that case and what they’re now seeing, but too much happens in the present for them to think clearly. There’s a new character revealed in the final pages and one of the agents takes action against that individual. Or do they? This story has taken a dark turn with clues revealed that seemingly don’t make sense. This isn’t a walk, it’s a wile ride of a story. Overall grade: A

The art: The beauty of Goran Sudzuka’s art is that he is able to capture reality so beautifully. That’s what makes the horrors of this story so powerful: it looks as though it’s actually happening. Sudzuka has got a terrific cinematic flair, making each of his panels seem as though they are stills from a film. The first panel is a great establishment shot of the dark interiors of the warehouse with a tiny image of the agents on the ground. The fourth panel is almost an Evil Dead II moment, as the protagonist pulls back one hand with the other. McGregor’s jump up is nicely done, with Shaw’s reaction increasing the surprise. Sudzuka uses blacks extremely well as the the agents use their flashlights to see in the dark space. The tiny panels that show the shells hitting the ground are excellent. The full-paged splash on 6 is the image that you’ll never be able to unsee once you’ve looked upon it. Don’t just look at the figure, take a look a what’s on the ground. How can this person be in this situation, let alone with that many objects on the ground? McGregor’s lack of eyes, because he’s wearing glasses, allows Sudzuka to really go to town with his facial reactions and he’s stellar. However, don’t discount what’s done with Shaw because she too looks fantastic as she’s trying to make sense of what’s occurring. The first three panels on Page 12 show some excellent movement by the characters that enhance the story. The final panel on 17 is a shock and is also excellent. The fleeting image on 19 is outstanding, resembling something that would be seen in a film, while the actions by Shaw at the bottom of the page at the start of 20 are explosive. Due to the bizarre nature of this story I found myself really examining every inch of Sudzuka’s art to see if he gave visual clues to what’s going on. I don’t know if I got anything extra, but I do know I enjoyed the art. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors to this book by Ive Svorcina set a fantastic, eerie tone. The interiors of the warehouse are flat yellows (for the minimal lights), blacks, tans (for flesh), and whites. This creates a dark setting without making things completely obscured by darkness. Look at the sixth panel on Page 2 and the fifth panel on 3: an excellent job by Svorcina to show depth in a dark setting using colors. On Page 6 the flashback portion of the book begins, but the colors still aren’t bright. The colors are muted. Even when the agents venture into the daylight in this flashback on 17, the colors are still muted. This could be a use of colors to suggest that the agents have always been in dark, whether solving a case or stuck in this odd situation in the warehouse; they’ve not been aware of what’s really going on. The colors could be clues. I’m really going to be paying attention to them in future issues! Overall grade: A 

The letters: Rob Steen is the book’s letterer and he creates dialogue, yells, screams, and the one word tease for next issue. The dialogue is easy to hear in the characters’ voices as certain words are italicized to show where they are putting stress. The yells and screams’ intensity can be easily understood by their size, but, for the most part, the dialogue is even sounding throughout. This almost gives the agents a too calm reaction to what they’re experiencing. I can roll with this, because I’ve encountered this type of delivery in many David Lynch films, but I would expect this pair of protagonists to have more stressful text. Overall grade: A-

The final line: This series takes a massive supernatural turn that has me hooked all the way to its conclusion. I have a million questions, but this book isn’t answering them yet. All I know is, I have to keep reading to find out what the hell is going on. This Walk has me running back for more. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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