In Review: Hellchild #5

This series was a terrific introduction for Angelica.

The covers: Summer is in full swing, so Zenescope has upped the amount of Exclusives to track down, bringing this issue’s cover count to seven. Sean Chen and Sanju Nivangume have created a gorgeous cover that’s been designated as the A cover and it’s the one I chose to accompany this review. It’s a spectacular image of Angelica standing atop a car, raising her blade above her head, with a decrepit city behind her. She looks amazing, the city looks great, and the photograph used for the sky perfectly matches the coloring. This is poster or print worthy. The B is by Pryzemslaw Klosin and Erick Arciniega which has Angelica sitting on a giant skull, holding her blade in her lap, while raising up a skull in her right hand. To her right is a miffed looking Liesel Van Helsing and to her left is her father Hades, whose head is slightly raised to show his self-worth to the reader. Behind all is a giant moon. Great composition and character work, with equally strong colors. Considering how dark this setting is, the colors nicely show off all the characters while maintaining the night. Angelica is back-to-back with Liesel on the C cover by Meguro. The title character looks fantastic: her face is incredibly beautiful and frightening with those fangs and her outfit and body looking great. Liesel is wearing the least I’ve seen her ever wear on a cover, which consists of a hat, fingerless gloves, a pair of hot pants, and mesh stockings. She looks good, but doesn’t resemble any image I’ve seen of her before. The D cover is by Jason Metcalf and Ivan Nunes and it’s a really dramatic piece. The Hellchild is solo on this cover, looking as if she’s taking a moment before launching herself at a foe. Behind her are several skulls with candles on their crowns and a stained glass circular window shines crimson light behind her. Very Gothic, with the title character looking the youngest I’ve seen her. I like this version of her and I really like the setting and the vivid colors. The San Diego Comic Con Exclusive is by Elias Chatzoudis and is limited to 350 copies. It features, I’m assuming, Sela dressed in a Batgirl outfit.  She has the Zenescope logo on her chest instead of a bat symbol and she’s wearing hot pants. Oh, and she’s laying on the San Diego Comic-Con eye logo, showing off her derriere. She looks great and the coloring is top notch. The San Diego Comic Con Zenescope Webstore Only Exclusive, limited to 500 copies, is the exact same image, except Sela is wearing a complete black Batman outfit. The Zenescope logo on her chest is again the dragon and it’s a bright yellow that matches her belt. Again, this is a nice cover. The final cover is a Sand Diego Comic Con Exclusive limited to 50 copies featuring gold foil. I don’t remember seeing this at the convention, but I’m assuming it’s the same as the first Exclusive, just with gold foil used on the yellow elements of the cover. Overall grades: A A+, B A, C B+, D B+, San Diego Comic Con Exclusive A-, and San Diego Comic Con Zenescope Webstore Only Exclusive A 

The story: Angelica is in Greece and has opened her mother’s grave. Seeing her sparks memories, ‘…I smell her perfume in the air rushing past me. Gone as quickly as it came.’ She reaches into the grave, dislodging her mother’s skull from the neck as she caresses it. ‘But I am not here for memories,’ and she reaches in and takes out her father’s bident, his ancient weapon. Back in Brooklyn, Olaf is questioned by his crew why they have to tolerate Angelica. He angrily reminds them, “Do you have any idea how much power that girl has? She is a vampire with a heartbeat who can transmogrify weapons with her f@#$ing blood!” He demonstrates how the taste he’s had of her blood has made him more powerful than those that follow him. Besides, he needs her to keep Hades in check, whom they have in chains next to Artemis in their dungeon. Just then, Angelica reappears bearing her father’s weapon, which is the only thing that can kill him. She turns her back on Olaf to leave to kill her father and that’s when he and his allies attack her. He bites her throat while the others chain her down and take the bident. Writer Pat Shand has put her in the worst possible situation and the reader knows that chaos is going to break out. Page 7 returns the reader to a character’s perilous situation, but two arrivals have her luck reversed. Back in the basement, the Hellchild states her hate to her father and he says something that motivates her to fight her former vampire friends. This prompts a violent confrontation with one enemy that’s a precursor to the issue’s big battle. Writer Pat Shand hits all the plot points that a reader could want in this final issue, while providing plenty of action. I really liked the ability that Angelica was shown to have on 19. The last four pages of the book address relationships between the survivors and it’s great. I really was pleased to read the quote at the end that caps off this run. This was a fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals by Vincenzo Riccardi were good more often than not, but there are a few bumps sometimes. The opening page demonstrates this. The first panel is too distant from the reader; pulling in closer would have made the image more horrific. The second panel that’s set in the past looks great. The third panel that introduces Angelica for the issue has her face in silhouette and doing so cuts off any connection that the reader may feel for her; granted, Angelica states that she’s free of emotion, but a cheat should have been done for the reader. The fourth panel is tighter to the subjects and succeeds for the horror. The fifth panel is is very sketchy. Half of Angelica’s face is shown in the final panel, but by halving it the impact is also cut in two. Olaf and his crew look good, as does their setting, and seeing Olaf in action at the bottom of the page is good. Page 3 is also good, with Riccardi limited in how much movement he can give the characters, seeing as how they’re chained to the ceiling. The Hellchild’s entrance on 4 is epic, but the thick line work in the final panel that butts up against it lessens it; Riccardi should have stuck to using thin lines on this book — every time he uses thick lines the art looks rushed. The page set in the Bronx uses thin lines in every panel and they look perfect. Pages 10 – 12 employ thick lines and it makes the pages look rough. The large panel on 13 looks great because of the thinner lines. Compare this panel to the larger that ends the page, with thick lines — it looks like two different artists on the same page. This can also be seen on 16, where, again, the large panel has thin lines (looking awesome) and the bottom two using heavier lines. The final four pages have Riccardi ending the book with the right tone with delicate lines, drawing the reader into the visuals. There’s much to like in his work, but it must be more consistent. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Eleonora Bruni does a good job on the book’s colors. The blades of grass in the book’s first panel are given a cool, deadly blue, leading the reader to think of death. Whenever a character has red eyes, Bruni gives them a great glowing effect that tells the reader that the character is supernatural. Hades and Angelica’s dialogue is given crimson colored text to show the reader that they, too, aren’t human. Sam and Marian are given specific colors to show their magical apparitions and Angelica is given a pale pink to emphasize her use of magic. I really liked the colors of Hellchild’s hair on the final pages, which finally catches up to how cover artists and colors have been showing her. This is great work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, narration, vampire speech, sounds, dialogue, Angelica and Hades’s speech, yells, screams, and the book’s closing quote are all brought to life by Jim Campbell. The wide variety of fonts are used masterfully by Campbell to differentiate characters from one another and to make the text visually pleasing. I love that Zenescope allows their letterers to do this, and Campbell shows that he’s impressively skilled. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: Hellchild is a terrific introduction for Angelica and I look forward to seeing more of her in the Zenescope Universe. Good action and great characters. Overall grade: A-

To order a physical copy of this book go to

To order a physical copy of the San Diego Comic Con Zenescope Webstore Only Exclusive go to

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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