In Review: Pestilence: A Story of Satan #2

Horror perfection from AfterShock that's not for the faint of heart.

The cover: Tim Bradstreet goes dark to focus on a hellish knight with the hint of a skull’s jaw protruding from his horned helmet. A large snake can be seen wrapped around his neck, making a beeline for the ground. He is surrounded by posts that hold several skeletons that the crows have cleaned. At the very bottom silhouettes of knights can be seen marching to the right, some on foot and others on horseback. This is a nice piece, but the colors, dark brown and tan, make it difficult to make out. Granted, it’s the devil and he should be hidden, but I would have preferred to see a white background with reds in place of the dark browns — that would have allowed the visuals to be more easily seen. Overall grade: C+

The story: Wow! How’s this for an opening? It’s night at the Vatican and loyal Thomas has brought Pope Price a young woman who is a former infected, one who was once consumed by the pestilence, but returned to normal. He orders the young woman stripped and tells her she is still quite ill. When she asks why he belives so, the pontiff responds, “My dear…am I not Pope Price. He who vanquished the black plague? Would I not know? Know how to fully heal you from what still dwells inside?” She asks what she must do and he takes her hand and leads her to a pair of closed doors. Thomas is excused, but not happy at what he knows is about to occur. Within are all manner of carnal acts. Price is about to force himself on the young woman until her voice changes in tone and employs a familiar font from last issue. Black bile begins to seep from the woman’s eyes, mouth, and ears. She is controlled by Satan, as are all within the room. The Prince of Darkness isn’t just animating these poor souls, he’s in the room as well. Things do not go well for Price. Meanwhile, Roderick, James, and Abel battle those possessed that stormed into their tavern last issue. The action goes as one would expect, though the trio of knights do learn that it is Satan who has created this pestilence, with the Dark One having a stern warning for Roderick at the bottom of Page 9. This is truly Hell on Earth for these men, who find themselves not battling a mindless horde, but bodies possessed by Satan. The three rush to help someone, but I’m extremely doubtful of the resolution on 17, but I can hope. Price becomes an extremely important character by the end of this issue, leaving me wondering how he can be stopped. This is one hell of a story conceived by Eric Bromberg, Brandon Auman, and Frank Tieri, with the later writing the script. Overall grade: A+

The art: The details in the art by Oleg Okunev continue to be absolutely stunning. Pope Price is a wonderfully deviant looking old man, making him absolutely a monster when the young woman stands naked before him. The full-paged splash on Page 3 that shows the orgy in the Vatican is as graphic as it can get without showing anyone’s genitalia; it looks like something out of Caligula’s infamous gatherings. Price’s disrobing only increases the disgust his actions and words suggested. The horror increases as the old man begins to kiss the back of the woman’s neck. However, when the black ichor begins to pour out of the woman’s head the reader knows what this signals and the horror of the situation has changed. The reveals on 5 that show all are possessed are monstrous, but are especially horrifying that the only one not in league with the devil is Price and he’s naked. The symbolism in the first panel on Page 6 is obvious and telling as to the man’s fate. Roderick’s actions in the tavern show him to be incredibly strong. The speaker in the last three panels on 8 is frightful, but it’s the action in that fourth panel that’s a scream; it would be at home in a Sam Raimi movie. The visuals change when the story shifts to elsewhere on Page 10 and it’s a beautiful setting, which soon become tarnished. The same can be said of 13. The reactions of the people on 16, who hear something, but don’t know what it is are excellent. I am not trusting that smile in the fifth panel on 17, though, but I’ll roll with it for now. The final image of the book is ominous. This book looks incredible for all the beauty and horrors Okunev creates. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Rob Schwager’s colors on this book enhance the visuals incredibly. The cool blues of the Vatican’s interiors are soothing, as one would expect within any holy building. Only the glare from Thomas’s candle provides any brightness. The reds used in the chamber of horrors make the imagery monstrous; first for the deviancy that’s shown and second for the horrors that follow. Even words of the possessed and Satan are outlined in an orange-yellow to give them a hellish flavor when they speak. Notice that the exteriors of the tavern are given different shades of blue and violet to denote the night, while orange reigns within the structure to show that it’s aflame. The change in locations on 10 has the colors become beautiful pales that match the reality being created. Two panels on 12 use stark crimsons to reinforce the terrors shown in the visuals. This book’s colors are amazing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This book features scene settings, dialogue, possessed and Satan speech, yells, sounds, a long scream, whimpering, and a glorious tease for next issue created by Marshall Dillon. The demonic speech is an absolute stand out in this series, composed of capital letters that are not aligned and tilt slightly — they look the way the speech would sound. The long scream goes through three panels and shows the intensity of the wail. The final three words that end this issue are a fancy, classical looking script for an utterly dark tale. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Horror perfection from AfterShock that’s not for the faint of heart. This book is graphic, action packed, and features the most terrible blaspheme to walk the Earth. I loved every moment of this book, though I kept all the lights on. Absolutely recommended. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to

To see the cover closer visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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