Hellcop #1
[Image Comics $2.50 US $3.80 CAN]
Written by Joe Casey / Art by Gilbert Monsanto
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Hellcop #1 CoverThe premise: science figures out a way to travel into different dimensions using dimensional gateways. The problem is the travel is two way. Known Reality Plane 1301-A is discovered to be Hell. The Pan-Dimensional Security Corps is instituted to keep the denizens of Hell out of our dimension. Virgil Hilts, our narrator and protagonist is one of these cops.

Hellcop starts out promising enough. We’re introduced to the world by Virgil Hilts’ first-person narrative—a bit hard-boiled but palatable. Virgil is sitting in a bar having a drink after nabbing a baddie. Once they return to the lock-up back on Earth other cop characters start to be introduced. In the course of these introductions we find out that the drugs these Hellcops must take to make travel through the gate possible is messing with their health. One cop mentions his “prostate the size of a bagel.” Yuck.

I would have liked more time in the issue to get to know the characters, such as Virgil’s steroidal partner, Gladys. But I realize the need is to get to the action so Virgil and Gladys are sucked into a mystery involving the wife and kid of the head of JAQ Enterprises, the company that created the gate technology. And that’s where the issue ends.

Joe Casey is being touted as one of the rising hot, young writers (he works mostly for Marvel) and he has crafted an entertaining if somewhat uneven first issue. As is necessary for first issues, the writer wants to hook you. Hence the speedy leap into the first story arc. I would have preferred more background and maybe have the story arc start with issue #2 but I’m probably in the minority.

The art by Gilbert Monsanto is Image/Manga influenced. Gladys in particular looks like something out of Fist of the Northstar. The panel layouts though standard/modern all-over-the-place make sense and don’t leave you wondering which little box you should read first.

All in all an entertaining foray into the supernatural super-hero genre. You won’t find the gloomy lyricism of a Hellboy comic here but they’re not really appealing to the same audience when you get right down to it. I should also mention that issue #1 comes with two different covers. One by Gilbert Monsanto and the other by Todd McFarlane. Quantities seemed equal at the shop I frequent and I went for the Monsanto cover.

Hellcop #1 should be on your retailer’s shelves still but if it’s not ask if they can reorder it or write Avalon Studios at: Suite F-414 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna, Niguel, CA 92677. Avalon Studios web site: www.avaloncomics.com.