When I started this profoundly underwhelming Walk Through Hell, I observed sometimes writer Garth Ennis makes a radical save after some lackluster first issues.
He doesn’t make any such save in Hell, but he does turn out to have a vaguely interesting twist, which comes way too late in the comic. We’re just over halfway through, and he’s introducing end of issue one material. He’s revealing the genre of horror, which first seems like he’s doing some Old Gods of Cthulhu business, but then quickly veers back into Preacher or Wormwood territory.
It’s too late, but it’s better than I was expecting.
He also focuses a lot on the FBI boss, Driscoll, as she enters the warehouse and starts to see its horrors. She’s a better protagonist than anyone else in the comic and a better subject for Ennis’s narration. But, of course, she’s not trying to hide anything like Shaw, or basically comic relief promoted to a more important role like MacGregor.
There’s a lengthy talk about the 2016 election while Shaw and MacGregor are on stakeout, with Ennis presenting more depth than before. It’s not particularly deep, though—identity politics are bad because white supremacists don’t worry about their identity politics—and it’s got a terrible “punchline,” possibly the worst in the series so far.
Given the potentially sensational nature of the big reveal, I’m surprised they didn’t open with it. Instead, they went with tedious police procedural with dramatically suffocating flashbacks. Then again, Ennis’s editor apparently thinks corpses grow hair, so why expect a better creative decision.
There are two cliffhangers—one with Shaw, MacGregor, and the Patton Oswalt version of Seven’s John Doe (just with Christian blood magic thrown in), then one with Driscoll. Presumably, next issue will engage with one resolution and bore with another, which is one more engaging plot than usual for this Walk.
Goran Sudžuka also appears to be sticking with the finer lines in his art, which continues to disappoint. Panels often threaten to have personality, then just don't.