REVIEW: To Hell You Ride #2

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What is the story of Seven George and his history with the sheriff and the town? Is he really possessed by spirits of dead warriors or has an alcoholic insanity gripped him? Read on in the Major Spoilers review.

To Hell you Ride 2 CoverTO HELL YOU RIDE #2

WRITERS: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
ARTIST: Tom Mandrake
COLORS: Cris Peter and Mat Lopez
LETTERS: Nate Piekos
EDITOR: Scott Allie
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
COVER PRICE: $3.99

Previously in To Hell You Ride Alcoholic wastrel Seven George was possessed by the spirits of the Native American dead of war and finds himself incarcerated.

DARK, DEPRESSING, DEEP, EXCELLENT

The issue kicks off with the depressing tale of Six George, Seven George’s numerical antecedent and father. For a multitude of reasons, including exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, Six George killed himself leaving his son alone in the world. The sheriff was Six George’s best friend, so we learn that’s why he looks after No. 7.

It’s fitting that such a deep and morose vignette leads off this issue—the whole book is dense with story and information with nothing to give you a break in between. That’s good though, because it reads like a real story rather than an issue of a funny book. I continue to be impressed with the writing and story in this title though I could perhaps complain about some of the overly archetypical characters, such as the mayor; I can give that pass, though, because a writer sometimes needs that kind of literary shorthand to be able to establish characters in a limited series.

Through Seven George we’re also treated to some explanations of Native American beliefs and myths. It could all be fabrication for all I know, but the strength of the writing makes me believe it and, between the pages of this issue that’s all that matters.

AWESOME ALL AROUND—NOTHING I CAN SNARK ABOUT

I try to write different sections of my reviews in my head while I’m reading the book; it helps me capture my initial reactions to the book without the pollutive filter of retrospection. So, as I was taking my first pass at this issue, I remarked to myself that while the art was decidedly above par as far as tone setting and elegant illustration, it was lacking in the kind of horrific imagery I’ve been led to expect from this book.

And then a dude melted into a pile of blood, bones and Levi’s. It was awesome.

I don’t usually go in for this kind of gore porn, but there’s no way around admitting Tom Mandrake’s work in this panel is technically gorgeous even if the subject matter is anything but. My pollutive retrospection is pleased that this first real visual shock came so late in the book—it drives home how even a slow-burning issue of any given comic can surprise and excite you before the final page.

The coloring is worthy of individual mention, too. I can’t articulate how I feel about it other than to say it’s “soulful,” so take that for what it’s worth. One final note about the coloring: One of the colorists is “Cris Peter.” You’re not fooling anyone with that nom d’art, Catman, though I’m glad you’ve found work after Kiss.

BOTTOM LINE: DON’T THINK, BUY

“To Hell You Ride’s” second issue proves that the first wasn’t a false positive—the story of Seven George and his apparent incarnation as an avatar for Native American spirits still has many secrets to reveal. I’m in for the long haul on this series and, as far as I’m concerned, Lance Henriksen can add “awesome comic book storyteller” to his resume right next to dead android and creepy ex-FBI profiler. 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

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