In Review: Her Infernal Descent #2

This trip through Hell is definitely worth taking.

The cover: Lynn, the protagonist of this series, gazes at the reader in contemplation. The windows and stairs of her house are incorporated into her visage, while within her hair are surrealist images of hell, containing oddities of a demon hanging a man, severed legs, saws, and flying creatures. This frontpiece by Kyle Charles with Jordan Boyd is okay. This is a decent representation of Lynn’s mental journey into Hell, but doesn’t really show much of what she actually encounters in this issue. The colors are also very bland, with everything blending together. Overall grade: C+

The story: Lynn watches as her guide William Blake is judged by Franz Kafka who will decide what the character’s punishment is to be. Lynn interrupts their conversation, impatient to find her husband and children, but is shushed by Blake, telling her to wait her turn. Kafka decides that Blake’s sin is one of Incontinence. The Austrian tells Lynn she can look, if she wants, to see what’s being done, but can’t tell the others. She does look and it’s a startling sight. Returning to Kafka, Lynn tells him she wants to find her family. Kafka is having difficulties remembering them, since he judges so many so often. Not helping is that the husband was a father. “I too had father issues with…a father. They are hard to find down here, and rather frightening…so much shame. Suffering…it goes beyond reason and logic.” He dismisses her ultimately, telling her to get in line and wait her turn. She goes to the end of the line, is joined by Blake, and the pair come upon a famous individual of the 19th and 20th century. This trek by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson is terrific. How the pair get past Kafka was funny and fitting. Where the duo go next is wonderfully modern day creepy which will ring true for readers. The book ends with them encountering another famous writer, whom I’m very intrigued by. Very readable. Overall grade: A

The art: I can not laud the work of Kyle Charles enough. Creating visuals for Hell must be a daunting task. It is one of the most painted and illustrated settings in history. My hat is always off to artists who can do something new and Charles certainly does. The mob that waits for Kafka’s pronouncements is terrific with a wide variety of characters populating it. Giant Kafka is great, looking menacing and then lost when daddy gets mentions. What’s occurring on the full-paged splash on 3 is a WHAT THE HECK?! moment. The character encountered on Page 7 looks great and what he’s wearing is absolutely perfect. The nine panel layout on 8 is awesome, as all of the nine paneled pages, but this one is great for being one continuous image. The center panel on 10 made me laugh out loud. The new level encountered on 11 is gloriously grotesque and the beings encountered on 13 outstanding. I love that Page 15 goes horizontal to show the new character (characters?) in it/their entirety. This is complimented by a great layout on 16; the page doesn’t need to be broken down in the way that Charles does, but in doing so allows all aspects of the character to be shown clearly, rather than overwhelming the reader. The book ends with a full-paged splash introducing another literary personality. I cannot wait to see what Charles does next! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Dee Cunniffe’s work really increases the horrors, the bizarre, and the hope of Hell. The opening setting is dominated by crimson, with the ground and hidden areas darker red. Lynn stands out due to her mustard colored sweater she wears and the warm colors of her skin, as she’s still alive. Blake also captures attention with his coloring, which is pasty white given his dead state. The second setting has a very different color scheme and it really pops off the page with sick greens and light blues dominating. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, screams, yells, sounds, editorial inclusions for credits, electronic speech, the creature’s speech that begins on 15, and the tease for next issue are created by Ryan Ferrier. I like that the screams and yells are in different fonts from the dialogue are big and bold. The citations for the quoted dialogue are elegant and match the finesse of their writers. The speech of the creature that initially appears on Page 15 is creepy and makes this monster wholly separated from humanity. Overall grade: A

The final line: It’s impossible to look away at where Lynn is going. The characters are horrific, familiar, and illustrated disturbingly. Though I will admit to being very worried in what states Lynn will find her family. This trip through Hell is definitely worth taking. 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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