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HELL TO PAY #1 Review

If you're a fan of stories like Eight Billion Genies and Hellboy, HELL TO PAY is a story that will grab you right by the horns!

From CHARLES SOULE (EIGHT BILLION GENIES, UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY) and WILL SLINEY (Spider-Man), HELL TO PAY starts out with a deliciously dark grab. What if every billionaire's secret was that they worked with hell, literally?

And what if some were out to stop it, thinking they knew all the rules of the game- but didn't?

OFFICIAL IMAGE COMICS SOLICIT: "The Shrouded College will give you magic... but you'll incur a debt. Until it's paid, you belong to them. Married couple Maia and Sebastian Stone took that deal. They have worked for the College ever since, using their new abilities to track down 666 cursed coins: qurrakh... aka, the Devil's Dollar. Only a few remain. The Stones are almost free... but the devil's in the details."

Caught Like A Fish From The Dang Start!

Man, this book had me hooked from the start. I couldn't believe how much Soule, Sliney, Rosenberg, and Crank fit into 36 pages!

Image Comics did not lie when they said this is Hellboy meets Indiana Jones. I will say, from the start of the issue, it felt more Tomb Raider meets Hellboy- but either way works, right?

Maia is a fucking FORCE. I love that through every second of this issue, whether she is pretending to be a billionaire who wants to be impressed, or reassuring her husband that they are doing the right thing and that she loves him, she's the star of the issue.

Now, that's not to say Sebastian isn't a lovely addition to the story, or necessary. His parallel energy to Maia is exactly what helps give this story the heart it needs. That determined, desperate, and eternal love is exactly the humanizing element that HELL TO PAY needed.

Magnificent Narration And Mythology

We see so much of Sebastian and Maia's relationship through the lens of the past, each scene of the past spread out in between moments of the present. To me, this is a very clever narration Soule chose, and makes this issue feel like an episode of a TV show. Each page, every panel, flows so well that before you can blink again, you've come to the end!

I'm particularly excited to see how the rest of this series continues, not only with Sebastian and Maia's relationship but with the mythology behind HELL TO PAY. Soule's new mythology of HELL TO PAY having its own form of currency, and how powerful it is both realistically and magically, is a fresh new take on the impact Hell could have on the real world.

Be sure to stick around for the end-page letter, folks! I believe HELL TO PAY will be one of the most unique series out there, particularly with its storytelling structure going forward!

Hard-Edged, Jaw-Dropping Art and Letters

Sliney's art and Rosenberg's colors tell their own story too! Sliney's lines are very sharp throughout; every curve has a point at the beginning and end to match even the straightest of lines. It makes me feel like I'm a part of this difficult, hard-edged world of HELL TO PAY. Furthermore, Sliney's style combines sci-fi, fantasy, and realistic-fiction elements that make this world believable. My favorite, and most terrifying element, is the gore drawn into this issue. If we aren't careful, folks, this could be our reality!

The colors Rosenberg uses makes a statement about each piece of this world. Throughout time on Earth, deep blues, purples, and teals are used. It's almost like they are reminding us that this is the calm before the storm.

The storm being Hell itself, bursting with flames colored with bright and unyielding oranges and reds of destruction! My goodness!

Crank's letters were great! Easy to read and follow, allowing us readers to fully indulge in the world that HELL TO PAY #1 is seeking for us to get obsessed with! I'm a firm believer that letterers are storytellers too, and there is a reason that Crank's letters were very consistent throughout. Rather than risk taking us out of the story with crazy colors and changing lettering choices throughout, Crank seems to have focused on consistency and clarity- both focuses I am grateful for!


Listen, if this is the price I have to pay for loving comics, and investing in comics outside the Big 2 - it's worth it! HELL TO PAY #1 is a HUGE win from Image Comics, with a creative team and mythology that absolutely blows me away. I CANNOT wait to see where it goes next! Pick it up from your LCS THIS WEDNESDAY!!!

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