Review: Penny for Your Soul #1

by

Welcome to Las Vegas! There’s nothing you can’t put a wager on and this town takes all kinds of currency. So why not step inside Eternity Casino and, for the small price of your soul, you could find that it’s your lucky day.

Penny for Your Soul #1

Written by Tom Hutchison
Art by JB Neto
Colors by Oren Kramek
Published by Big Dog Ink

Previously in Penny for Your Soul:  First Issue Alert! If you’re looking to jump into a new title, this may be what you were looking for. Penny for Your Soul follows the daughter of Satan, who runs the Eternity Casino, as she tries to get her hands on as many souls as she can before Heaven and Hell grab them all for themselves. With her friend and former love interest to the Son of God, Mary Magdalene (A.k.a. Maggie), they can offer your hearts desire for the price of eternal servitude.

HERE ARE THE HOUSE RULES

Our story begins with a nice view of the city as Mr. Anderson pulls his car up to Eternity Casino. After a flirtatious exchange with the valet, Mr. Anderson steps inside and meets up with Danica, the owner of the casino. After giving him (and us) the ten cent tour of the casino, Danica takes him over to see Maggie to exchange his soul for ten thousand dollars. Some how Danica knows exactly why he came to the casino and it wasn’t for gambling or the stage show. For the price of ten thousand, Mr. Anderson buys a girl and a room for two days and heads off to go play with his “pet”. As soon as Mr. Anderson walks off, Danica lectures Maggie on calling her Dan. It’s here that we find out that Maggie is Mary Magdalene and she’s doesn’t really keep in touch with her one time boyfriend Jesus.

In an effort to help Maggie cut lose she makes a wager with her. Danica has to have the next VIP member to walk through the doors stuffing dollars down her underwear by midnight or Danica signs the casino over to Maggie. If she wins, Maggie has to ride the bull on stage later that night. Just as Maggie agrees the wager, the doors open and a nun and two priests walk through the door. Danica goes over to give it her best sales pitch when a large man approaches Maggie to sell his soul. Maggie explains that for the price they offer, when the man dies he doesn’t go to Heaven and avoids Hell but rather comes to the casino to work for eternity. The man doesn’t care, signs his name and bets it all on black two seconds later. Later that night, the stage show begins and we see the nun stuffing a dollar bill in Danica’s g-string. Owning up to her promise, Maggie strips down to a cowgirl outfit and starts riding the mechanical bull. Danica stops to enjoy seeing her friend have a little fun as she worries when Heaven or Hell will catch on to her taking a cut of the profits. Suddenly the doors swing wide open revealing a rather large devil and along side him Danica’s father, Satan.

YOU MUST BE 21 TO ENTER

The first thing I have to say is that this comic is for mature readers. There’s no nudity but more than enough nearly naked women and sexual situations to rate it so. The language is moderately adult with only a few exchanges that you’d want to cover your kids’ ears for if you heard it in public. Some of the religious talk might be enough to offend people as well. Especially the references to Maggie having satisfied Jesus in specific ways. It portrays the relationship as a break up that left them drifting apart and has a rather funny joke about Jesus getting a talk show just to have people listening to him. I swear I could hear the drum roll as the doors opened and the laugh track as the nun and priests walked in. That was a nice rim shot gag but there is something almost disturbing about seeing that nun stuffing a dollar in a g-string later on. If you can deal with this type of behavior, you’re likely to enjoy the rest of the story. If not, then you may want to pass and save yourself from writing an angry letter later on.

THE EXPERIENCE

Tom Hutchison writes a really well told story. The concept is interesting and I can’t help but feel that the first few pages are the intro to a movie being narrated by Christian Slater. Based on the premise of the comic, it probably would make for an interesting movie or a really awesome episode of the Twilight Zone at the least. Maybe even a Skinamax movie. He does a great job of packing a ton of content into a few pages and by the time you’re nine pages in, you know what the idea of the comic is about. By the time you’re half way through it, you’re fully on board and just enjoying the ride. It’s nice to be able to get on board something so quickly when so many other books out there make you wait until issue 2 to feel like you’re past the introduction. It’s no wonder that their first printing of this book sold out. (Don’t worry. Second printing is on its way.)

I LIKE THE WAY YOU DO THAT THING YOU DO

Let’s talk about the art for a second. JB Neto and Oren Kramek do a fantastic job of creating a busy casino that doesn’t over crowd a page. The women look amazing, the devil at the end looks pretty awesome, and I can’t help but wonder if the large man that wants to sell his soul was supposed to look a little like Hellboy at first glance. The trench coat, black shirt and haircut mixed with all the red trim on his coat would make it a somewhat funny homage. Seems like HB’s kind of place. The art works beautifully for the story that they’re telling and even the way the panels are laid out are kind of fun.

ARE YOU SELLING TO ME?

There’s only one thing that causes me concern. I’m not sure how to receive the epilogue. I’m not sure if it’s designed to act as an advertisement of sorts for the casino or not. It features Mr. Anderson and his “pet” walking through the casino on their way to his room as they talk about how men are pigs and women are piglets. Essentially the point of the story was to tell the reader to cut lose and have a little fun without worrying about what the consequences are. If this is meant as a way to get the reader to come on over to the casino then I think it’s great. If not, then it comes off as rather preachy and feels like Satan himself is trying to get you to sell yourself through the comic.

TIME TO TALLY THE SCORE

I think that the concept of the story is amazing and could be made into an incredible story we’ll not soon forget. At a few points of the story, I wasn’t sure if I was offended or not but as I kept reading on, those feelings quickly went away. It all seems to be done in the name of fun and I don’t think should be taken too seriously. The art is amazing and I’m a fan of looking at JB and Oren’s women. I give this issue four and a half out of five stars and am incredibly eager to get my hands on the next issue due out in August.

Rating: ★★★★½