"Raise Hell!" Comic Review

Written by Jamie McMorrow

Published by Comixology


Written by Jordan Alasqa
Illustrated by Ray Nadine
2024, 24 pages
Comic released on 14th May 2024


I couldn’t help but be charmed by the first issue of Jordan Alsaqa and Ray Nadine’s Raise Hell. From the not-the-palette-I’d-expect-on-a-horror-comic popping colours of the front cover to the wise-cracking, flowing dialogue, there’s a joyous air running through its pages, even though those same pages are ostensibly infused with a theoretically ironic, downbeat, post-slacker-esque ethos.

The premise had my mind swirling with Buffy the Vampire Slayer potential – three teenage friends, Reeves, Victor and Miri, decide to summon a demon, but do so on the cheap, landing themselves with something of a disappointing entity. Within this framework there are hints of a broader scope: an accessible and hierarchical underworld, seemingly poised to slither onto the page in forthcoming issues. Although this summation may make the story sound simplistic, the script doesn’t ever quite take the expected route and makes enough twists and turns to keep even a jaded reader like me entertained.

Click images to enlarge.

I was initially confused by some of the character designs, particularly their fashion choices, and wondered just how much I’m out of touch with American suburban teen fashion, but this was emolliated by the afterword in which we’re informed that the comic takes place in the early 2000s. The artwork, which initially reminded me of early Jim Mahfood, resonates well with that era, with a chunky post-graffiti line. There’s a Brandon Graham-ish intentional-looking looseness, but also clarity. The pages have kinetic energy but without sacrificing storytelling (less common than you might think). I really appreciated the sunniness of the colour scheme too, as I’ve already stated – not what you’d expect from a horror comic, but Raise Hell is definitely not a traditional horror comic, pitched more towards the comedic end of the market, but never feeling like it’s having trouble straddling genres.

To return to the art, I’d say Ray Nadine deserves huge credit for making the pages of Raise Hell look so lively. It’s something that goes unnoticed a lot in this medium, but to keep static images consistently imbued with a sense of movement is no small feat and Nadine pulls it off with aplomb. There’s a constant fizz and crackle and this sense of vigour perfectly complements the mood of Alsaqa’s script, which similarly doesn’t drop in energy levels over the course of the comic’s twenty-four pages.

Click images to enlarge.

My one criticism might be the ending. This book has one. A proper ending, that is. Not like the finite end of the story, but a decent, wrapped up, end-of-chapter finish. While this might seem strange to complain about, I felt the aforementioned hinted potential of the Raise Hell universe could easily have spawned a huge and exciting cliffhanger ending, leaving the next issue even more eagerly awaited. I don’t know, maybe my brain’s rotted with the serial ‘what-comes-next?’ nature of superhero comics, but with ideas as curiosity-piquing as those presented here, a mouth-watering last-page shocker seems like a no-brainer. It’s my understanding that the creation of the next issue is currently subject to fundraising, so there may be quite honourable and valiant intent on the parts of the artists to present a more complete work, in lieu of a potential lengthy wait for the next instalment, and that can’t be faulted, again speaking as someone who might have spent way too long in life waiting for delayed issues to find out just what happens next.

So, roll on issue 2, I say. I’m excited to see more of this fertile world. As mentioned, this is in no way strictly a horror comic, but I’d be doubly intrigued to see what these creators get up to if events in Raise Hell were to take a turn to the dark(er) side.


Story: Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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