Hellchild is one of the first series to come out of the end of the previous Grimm universe, but will the apocalypse have improved this half-vampires half-life?
Previously In Hellchild: The god Hades had a daughter in Ancient Greece called Angelica. Through his meddling interference in her life, she was killed by an immortal he created, and for centuries he brooded on his failures. In the present, with the help of Liesel Van Helsing he managed to resurrect his daughter, but she came back a twisted vampiric monster now known as, The Hellchild.
Grimm Fairy Tales is dead, long live Zenescope
I am probably the only one that noticed this, but this is the first series that Zenescope has put out in a long time that is not associated with the Grimm Fairy Tales name (except for the licensed comics they produce obviously). Even the horror title they have been putting out is called GRIMM Tales of Terror; the last time they put out a series that didn’t carry the name was in 2012 when they did the second volume of Salem’s Daughter.
That does not mean this book is unconnected, far from it, this is an integral piece of their new Grimm universe, but perhaps their Apocalypse miniseries is their attempt to relaunch their comics to a wider audience. They have had such a ‘bad’ name to this point with most comic fans thinking of them merely as the ‘cheesecake’ books. As I have said in my reviews before, they have never merely been about the ‘skin on show’ and the back story is about as developed as any comic universe, so I really hope this soft-reboot works for them.
I find this choice of character an interesting one for one of Zenescope’s new high profile characters, that is unless they are vastly expanding their list of titles. They have already announced new series for Robyn, Leisel, Deathforce and the new Grimm Fairy Tales title, but Angelica seems to be getting a push even above a new Wonderland series.
So the question comes, is this half-god/half-vampire reincarnated Ancient Greek woman worthy of her own title? From what I have seen, yes, she probably is. This book swaps the overt sexual implications of previous titles and replaces it with graphic spine ripping, face crushing, gore drenched violence, to mixed effect.
I am not the greatest exponent of violence for violence sake and for me, much like nudity in comics, it needs to be there for a purpose rather than just its own sake. This pushes that line quite a bit. Once you have seen one person’s spine ripped from their body and their skull rammed through the face of the next monster, you start to feel that enough is enough. When eight pages of a comic are filled with blood drenched violence, you really start to question if there was a story to tell, or if the violence is being used to cover up a lack in that area.
Replacing sex with gore-porn?
I cannot claim this is the first Zenescope book to do this; the original Wonderland series had sequences which frankly will never leave my subconscious mind, especially the moment where the Hatter literally ripped himself out from inside another characters skin. In some ways it does make me question my own reasons for liking the Grimm Fairy Tales universe; have I really been making excuses on its behalf because deep down, I really like looking at pretty women in comics and that was enough for me?
Actually, it almost proves the opposite. I am not the biggest fan of gore-porn, I leave that to the wife and her obsession with slasher films; however despite this, I still like this book. It leaves me wanting to know more about Angelica, wanting to know if that ridiculous hairstyle will ever change and if there is more to come from this character than what is in this re-introductory series.
This is not the best book from Zenescope, but it is far from the worst; the story is vaguely interesting, the art consistently good (except 2 pages of the first fight which just don’t work for me) and the moody colouring is effective. Now if they can make the other new titles a bit different and interesting like this, they might be on to a winner.