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In Hell We Fight 01 Main

"In Hell We Fight #1" Comic Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by Image Comics


Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Jok
Colored by Jok and Mey
Lettered by John Layman
2023, 28 pages
Comic released on 27th June 2023


After (a relatively short) life spent torturing frogs, teenage troublemaker Xander Waterford is attacked by the Frog Devil (Bufobeelz, in case you were wondering) and dragged to the depths of Hell. And that's just within the first three pages.

The first issue of writer Jon Layman and illustrator Jok's comedy / horror / fantasy book picks up with three condemned teenagers in Hell, accompanied by demon 'frenemy' Balpha-Dragon. Traversing this landscape (less Dante's Inferno, more swampland), Xander (the frog kid), Midori Fukada (bossy badass) and Ernie Comstock (has an axe in his head) hatch a plan to steal a demon lord's, ah, ice cream van.

Click images to enlarge.

The title promises fighting and Hell (and fighting in Hell), and this first issue more than delivers. Part Hellboy, part Tim Burton, Layman and Jok infuse In Hell We Fight with punk / goth energy throughout. Jok's artwork, co-coloured by Mey, is sharp and scrappy, like its characters, and more than a little reminiscent of the work of Eduardo Risso, in its chunky black lines and grotesque non-humans. Their vision of Hell is an interesting one – more washed-out than you might think – a grimy, green-ish locale, not dissimilar to how it is envisioned by The Sandman. Once can certainly understand why its three heroes might be craving ice cream so much that they'd launch a whole hellbound heist for the stuff.

Layman wastes little time in getting to the point, in an effective introduction to all three main characters (plus demon) and their world. With the first issue contained mostly to the wilderness, one looks forward to seeing Layman and Jok's Hell opening up to see what the other nine circles look like. A startling cliffhanger ensures that readers should be back for more... should the palette for high-energy banter and spunky teens be there.


Story: Fourstars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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