Publisher: Image Shadowline
Written, Illustrated & Covers by Brian Haberlin
Coloured by Geirrod Van Dyke
Lettered by Francis Takenaga
Editing by Sally Haberlin
One thing I love about Hellcop is the amount of plot and interest packed into each issue and this issue is no exception. This is an issue that I devoured first reading, then read again to really take it in. I hate to use the phrase edge of my seat when reading but there were parts where I was. There’s drama and action and intrigue but also some nice surprising moments as well. Plus the usual dose of humour. It feels a lot longer than 28 pages, in the best way.
At the end of the last issue we had something of a cliff hanger as Gladys had brought back the missing Kanamar to the Sasquatch. Unfortunately she had stepped into the Royal chamber holding it which apparently now makes her queen. How did Virgil not know this was a possibility even though he speaks their language? Well, as he points out his training was more about not getting killed than cultural intricacies. Resolving that little issue is the main plot thrust for Virgil and Gladys.
Elsewhere, remember that young man who wandered into Hell? There’s developments there as well as the demon Szxssqq-Yzk Jr (we’ll just call him Szx for the rest of this review) and said young man, Dan Gray, have teamed up to bring the music of John Lennon from Hell into our dimension. Yes that is a sentence I just typed. Although not related to the Sasquatch plot this provides some diverting humour. The absurdity of the idea of someone stealing music from John Lennon in Hell just works so well and again expands out the sort of things the Hellcops have to deal with.
Also that plot line gives us back the appearance of Briggs from the previous arc which pleases me greatly. He also knows John Lennon and goes to his signing. His presence also gives us a nice link back to Virgil. I have no doubt the Hellcops will get involved at some point given that link.
My favourite parts though are with the Sasquatch. I like how I can recognise the individual Sasquatch, which helps given there’s some plotting and intrigue going on and it’s useful to know who is on the side of who. It seems the new Queen needs a consort and the way to find out who is through Sasquatch battling each other. The panels of the battles are suitably engaging and when the Prince gets involved there’s an extra layer of tension. One of the battles is pretty brutal and the gory ending of a beheading is viscerally depicted.
The whole Sasquatch palace is a nice bit of design too. Wide open spaces inside creating an arena for the fight. Windows to let in light. Curved lines that give part a more organic feel but then also straight strong lines and hints of almost technology influenced design. I really like it. I also like Tower Records where John Lennon is doing a signing which is very reminiscent of older record shops. I especially like the Almost Heaven Tour poster, nice touch.
This issue is full of neat little touches. From Szx wearing a hat and sunglasses to disguise himself on Daytime TV to Gladys’s rather excellent Queenly headdress. Not many people could have pulled that off. The flower crown aesthetic mixed with pointy gold really does make a statement.
There are also some neat touches with the plot too. Virgil visits Dr. Lee in his dungeon (the fact the science and research part of Hellcop HQ is called that still amuses). The Hellcops have a mystery to investigate still of course, which is who stabbed the Prince. Some scans and Dr. Lee’s handy 3-D printer are what’s needed. I also really enjoy Dr. Lee as a character, His resemblance to Brains both physically and in some of his character traits make me very fond of him. His is a brief appearance in the overall issue but a very memorable one.
I won’t give away the solution but needless to say there is one and it is an interesting twist I wasn’t quite expecting. Whilst I will give away the excellent appearance of Gladys’s colleague Angus at the end of the issue. This was teased when I interviewed Brian Haberlin. I was really hoping to see Angus fishing for the Loch Ness Monster and I am delighted it made it’s way to the end of this issue. I love that whole concept and it brought a big grin to my face.
Overall this issue is a great way of concluding the Sasquatch mystery whilst setting up some more possibilities. I’ve really enjoyed exploring this new and different part of KRP 1302-A. It’s a big dimension with plenty of potential and a wide range of inhabitants. I look forward to whichever part we’re exploring next because I am sure there’s still plenty of surprises to come.