Swimming around inside of a dead guy is really the least of your problems


It’s been a couple months since I had the opportunity to review Hexed #1 from Boom! Studios.  I was so thrilled with how the first issue kicked off, I couldn’t wait for the second to arrive.  Hexed #2 hits stores this week, and continues the thrill ride set in a world of magic.

hexed02cover.jpgThe concept of a magical artifact black market, and the den of wicked and vile people who traffic in such goods, is one that I’m glad this book got to before it was over used in other titles.  This idea allows writer Michael Alan Nelson to create a whole world of petty thieves, mobsters, and high ranking officials that is truly believable.  This reviewer gets the sense that there really are serious repercussions to threats, instead of the “say a word backwards and everything is returned to normal” attitude found in other magical based books.

This ends up making Lucifer’s situation that much more interesting as ex-employer, Dietrich, gives her an ultimatum; retrieve a magical item, or her friend and current boss will be killed.  Ironically, the item she’s ordered to fetch can also kill her boss with just a spoken word.  Readers find out more about this mysterious Carasinth through a flashback to Roanoke, Virginia, and conversations with other characters in the story. The brief glimpse of the awesome power behind the device cements the idea that this is a magic totem that is better left untouched.

Magical worlds being what they are mean things can get really interesting, as Luci finds herself swimming around inside the body of a deadman to find the talisman, and then later creating other doorways to new worlds at the touch of a finger.  Nelson weaves levity, seriousness, and graphic violence into a perfect blend of storytelling that will keep readers engaged through the entire issue.

As far as the graphic violence goes, there isn’t any on panel disemboweling, but Luci does go a round with Dietrich’s men, and they end up the worse for wear (and for one of them – without a nose).

There are, in fact, two tasks Dietrich wants Luci to accomplish, and its the second one that finds the pair venturing to the domain of Lucifer’s real master.  While readers are discovering more about the Carasinth, they are also uncovering more secrets of Luci’s past.  I do like stories with mystery, where bits and pieces of the story are revealed layer by layer, much like an rose, where ever petal reveals something more underneath.

Once again, the art by Emma Rios rocks, as she continues to deliver a unique style readers in the United States haven’t seen.  There is a definite mix of Manga and European comics found between the cover.  This can be seen when Dietrich makes an appearance; he looks like a character straight out of Cowboy Bebop, while the surrounding background let’s readers know where the events are taking place.  I like this so much better than the solid wash panels found in other book.  If you have the choice, I highly recommend readers pick up Cover B featuring the work of Joe Pekar.  Simply brilliant!

I’m not sure if there is a printing error with the advanced copy I received, or if my eyes are really getting that bad, but the coloring in this issue seemed way off.  Instead of bright reds and high contrasts between colors like we were treated to in the first issue, everything seems to have a weird shade of pink cast over every panel, which lowers the contract range and causes everything to be washed out.   It’s kind of distracting, and just didn’t cause the panels to pop like those from the first issue.

My biggest complaint with this issue is it seems too short.  There is a lot of fast paced action happening in the issue, and since Nelson is able to effectively pull the reader into the story, by the time the final cliff-hanger page hits, there is a sense that there is something more to be had – even though this is a full 22-page issue.

That being said, Hexed #2 is another stellar tale. While other companies feature magic as a force for good, Hexed shows readers the seedy side of magic that makes you hope you never wind up in a world that is this spooky. Fast paced, great art, really developed characters earn Hexed #2 4.5 out of 5 Stars.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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