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"Her Infernal Descent #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AfterShock Comics

Her Infernal Descent 1 00

Written by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Illustrated by Kyle Charles
2018, 34 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 18th, 2018

Review:

After losing her family, a middle-aged mom literally goes to Hell.  She has her reasons though.  Her husband and three kids are down there and it’s up to her to save them.  Don’t take this the wrong way.  This isn’t a thrilling adventure story about a woman heading into the underworld.  It’s a sorrowful tale of grief and it is incredibly gripping.

First off, I searched high and low and I don’t believe the main character is named throughout the first issue of Her Infernal Descent, so I’ll keep referring to her in this abstract manner for the duration of the review.  

The beginning of this issue tells you all you need to know about her.  You don’t get a history lesson about what happened to her family or when they died.  You just see her mourning, trying to pack up the possessions of her husband and children, who will never touch them again.  It is so very moving and a fantastic way to open the series.  Sure, it’s super depressing, but you get the point so quickly, which makes her actions understandable.

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The narration is pretty light, which works well.  Artist Kyle Charles does the heavy lifting here, showing panel after panel of a nearly empty house and a woman on auto-pilot slowly walking through it.  The tasks are meaningless, moving books from here to there or assembling boxes, but they have to be done.  How can she possibly do something so trivial when her whole world has collapsed around her?  As a parent, losing your family is a major fear, so I can only imagine what she’s going through.  

To really hammer home the feeling of loss, there’s a gorgeous spread showcasing her memories that hits you like a freight train of emotion.  This happens as she’s descending down a ladder, presumably to her basement, but she ends up some place else entirely.  The images swirl together, picking out key moments of their shared lives, such as a birth, or Halloween.

The one part that kind of threw me in Her Infernal Descent is the inclusion of the ghost of poet William Blake.  He serves as a guide to this woman, ushering her through the afterlife to help find her family.  Now, this comic is based on Dante’s Inferno, which I have not read, so there might be some deeper meaning to the appearance of a dead poet.  As it stands, it’s a little annoying, as he talks only in rhyme.  Not even Etrigan the Demon can get away with that without sounding ridiculous.  
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Fortunately, the woman comments on it, calling him out and telling him how silly he sounds.  This is a nice touch, as if writers Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson are acknowledging that this is a bit weird, but the main character is going with it, so you should too.  

Charles’ artwork is expressive in the beginning, then reaches a whole new level by the end.  As the woman goes deeper and deeper into Hell, the world around her gets stranger.  It’s an awesome depiction of the underworld, complete with the ghosts of dead celebrities milling about, hoping people remembered them after they were gone.

Her Infernal Descent takes Dante’s Inferno, a classic I have never really been interested in, and puts it in a context I can easily relate to and want to read.  It helps that there are pictures, but it’s more than that.  The woman at the center of this story has suffered unimaginable pain and heartbreak.  She’s desperate and is willing to do anything if it means being with her family again, even going to Hell itself.  That is some powerful stuff.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Her Infernal Descent 1 Cover
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Art: Fourstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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