A Walk Through Hell (2018) #3

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If it weren’t for the Goran Sudžuka art, you could probably convince me I was reading a Warren Ellis Avatar comic from the early aughts. It’s a time-warped FBI procedural with a supernatural but not ghost element. I keep waiting to see when it will feel like a Garth Ennis comic, and there’s nothing.

It feels, actually, like Garth Ennis trying to convince someone he can write a Netflix show. Like a supernatural “Mindhunter”-type deal. It’s thorough and competent, writing-wise, but it’s also desperately dull. It takes until the last page for anyone to show any enthusiasm in the dialogue; I had to reread the word balloon three times. It’s not even good dialogue; it’s just got oomph.

Or more oomph than the rest.

Though Ennis introduces the tough-as-nails FBI boss lady, who our heroes both admire, it’s weird how woke dude McGregor genders it. Beyoncé’s everyone’s Beyoncé, bro.

The issue opens with McGregor and Shaw still trapped in the weird warehouse of horrors, talking about what they’re going to do next, arguing. They talk around last issue’s cliffhanger, which had Shaw getting a terrifying message about someone they both know—a suspect, presumably, in their child abduction cases.

It takes this issue about half its pages to give the name of said person, which is not a particularly exciting name. He gets introduced right at the end of the issue for the cliffhanger. The flashbacks are pretty good police procedural; the lady boss is fighting with the beancounters, giving briefings, and if Garth Ennis wants to write “Criminal Minds: Dublin” or whatever, they’d be lucky to have him.

The warehouse back and forth is less engaging. It’s a lot of padded, mysterious exposition as Ennis tries to drag this series out to twelve issues. It’s early days, though. It’s not impossible Ennis will surprise me. When he flops, it’s usually after a strong start, not a tepid one.

The book also might click more if Sudžuka got to draw something besides a cop procedural. He’s real good at it; we got it. Now, something else, please.

There’s also a horrific gross-out thing going on (a la Se7en), and it’s entirely pointless. Again, feels like an aughts Avatar, just without the blood and guts.

I wish Ennis would find something to get excited about other than making the plot points run on time. Unfortunately, he’s not just wasting his own time or the readers’ time; he’s also wasting Sudžuka’s.

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