Hellfire And Ice Cream: ‘In Hell We Fight’ #1 Advance Review

Everyone loves ice cream, right? And, I imagine we all have the same fuzzy-warm collective memories of the ice cream truck rolling round to deliver those tasty, icy, sweet treats. Well, even in Hell they love ice cream. Although, in writer John Layman and artist Jok’s new comic book, In Hell We Fight #1, trying to wave down an ice cream truck in the underworld was never going to be easy. I mean, it’s Hell! But, that doesn’t stop our intrepid central cast of characters from trying, with a bit of subterfuge and moxy along the way. And, while “moxy” may not necessarily be a word often used in contemporary circles, I am sure Tom Sawyer-era Xander Waterford would get the gist. One of three immortal souls cast into Hell, or in Xander’s case, snatched. The other two being hard-ass Yakuza teen, Midori Fukada and Ernie Comstock, a young boy with an axe perpetually stuck in his head. 

The desire for ice cream may very well be the driving force behind this opening issue’s narrative, and as delightfully daft a premise as anything Layman served up in his seminal work on Chew, but it also helps to introduce us to the aforementioned troubled trio and their demon groupie, Balphadogon. And, as we get to meet and know each character through carefully placed exposition from our omnipresent narrator, guide and chorus, we also learn that each one has a very specific talent that suggests not everything in Hell is dreadful. Although, the dried out terrain of Hell as depicted by Jok is no place to live. His use of pen and ink reminded me somewhat of Eduardo Risso’s own style of penmanship. Like Risso, Jok seems to favour rendering his art using, on the whole, one nib size, and it certainly feels like pen, rather than brush and ink when you look at the artwork. Add in a similar exaggerated aesthetic sensibility to that of Layman’s previous partner, Rob Guillory, and you have the perfect artist to illustrate Layman’s fun script. 

Of course, as this is a comic book written by Layman it’s one that never takes itself seriously. I mean, you did read the premise of this issue above, right? But, it’s in their plans to grab themselves some ice cream, even if it turns out to be, “rotten sea lion”, that the plot thickens and our heroes are thrown into a situation only the fearless Midori finds opportunistic. Or, to put it another way, something that will no doubt become problematic. The quest for ice cream has soon become something very different, and will fuel the series moving forward, rising the action and the stakes. 

It’s a promising first issue that deftly introduces the main cast, some of their backstory and their individual characteristics. Quite the feat for an issue that also serves up a dark humoured tale. Before this five-issue series ends, though, I except a good deal more blood and belly-laughs will be had.

In Hell We Fight #1 is out on Wednesday 7th June from Image Comics

Everyone loves ice cream, right? And, I imagine we all have the same fuzzy-warm collective memories of the ice creamCOMICONRead More

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