Rating: 5/5 – To Hell and Back for Just a Buck!
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The concept of Oni’s new series titled Hellbreak is creative and exciting. A company called Project Kerberos who’s funded by the Catholic Church is tasked with putting together special forces teams to infiltrate hell in order to save a person’s soul. But Hell isn’t just one simple world or reality. There are, as the introduction page tells us, thousands of hells. Each one is unique and different so where one may be the commonly known fire filled world full of terror and torture, others like the one presented in this first issue may be disguised as a freaky masquerade ball with a frightening twist. Hellbreak is full of story potential and lives up to it with this opening issue.
Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Churilla have worked before on the Sixth Gun mini-series Sons of the Gun, and Hellbreak has a similar look and feel which I think is a great thing. Churilla’s art has a slight cartoony feel, but can get just creepy enough when he needs it to. He comes up with some really cool designs in this first issue as the hell visited in this opening chapter gives us a look at just how crazy his creations can get. Demons that have elongated mouths on both sides of their heads hidden beneath porcelain Victorian masks is an unsettling visual, and Churilla does a great job of balancing the fear while at the same time keeping it fun. Add in Dave Stewart’s award winning colors and Hellbreak nails it visually.
Cullen Bunn has delivered a great story that’s worthy of the wonderful concept. A son has been possessed by a demon. That possession has displaced and trapped the boy’s soul in hell, and his parent’s reach out to the Project Kerberos in order to save it. We meet the task force assigned to saving the boy’s soul, and although none of the characters really stand out as of yet, Bunn is more focused on building the premise and story foundation before diving into each of the characters background and personalities.
This is a stand alone story that can be enjoyed all its own while still providing plenty to have me excited for what’s to come. Hellbreak looks like another exciting new series from Oni Press, and as far as making a first issue connect with new readers, it does so on every level, including the price. This premiere issue is a packed twenty-eight pages, all for just a single $1. Oni and the creators involved are making it easy for you to try this new series out, and even if it had cost a normal $2.99 or $3.99, I’d have still walk away excited for the next issue!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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