Publisher: Image Shadowline
Written, Illustrated & Covers by: Brian Haberlin
Coloured by: Geirrod Van Dyke
Lettered by: Francis Takenaga
Editing by: Sally Haberlin
I often say Hellcop packs a lot in: but boy does it pack a lot in this issue. We have evil cats, possible romance, call backs to earlier issues, and magical science. It felt like a much longer issue than it is and the pacing was absolutely spot on throughout. Some of the best we’ve had so far. There was a lot of meaty plot, interesting character bits and some solid world building. This issue of Hellcop very confidently takes the Wonderland premise and runs with it.
Last issue the Red Queen from Wonderland showed up, but thanks to the reality bending wand she’s at least conscious. However her very presence has really messed things up for Virgil, who at the start of this issue appears to be on a date. I say appears because he’s called away pretty early on due to the small crisis brewing over Doctor Lee’s little experimental accident. Needles to say Virgil is not very impressed and I have to say the page of an angry Virgil with his accusing finger was great.
What is also great is the expansion of the different realities. Lewis Carroll essentially dreamed about Wonderland. The theories about the different ways the realties interact make a kind of weird pseudo-scientific sense. It makes the world of Hellcop feel that much more real and gives the world building a great boost.
It’s also really enjoyable to see all our main characters together. We’ve not really had a chance to see Virgil, Taj, Gladys and Doctor Lee in a scene together and the team dynamics are well realised. Each character plays their role well. You get more a sense of team than we’ve had before which is nice. We’ve had various characters team up in pairs but it’s good to have them all together, if only for a brief time.
It was also great to see the return of the senator. We’ve not seen him since the end of the first arc so it’s a welcome return and a chance to catch up. A few other characters from that first arc also make an appearance, albeit briefly, and we see a welcome return to the Hellscape we’re familiar with from the first arc. Good to have that touchstone.
As always the inclusion of current pop culture is welcome. The Red Queen’s reactions upon discovering he various depictions of her in film and media are a great addition to the comedy in this issue, in particular her reaction to Helena Bonham Carter.
Humour is, as always, present throughout Hellcop #10 but there’s also some real peril once the Cheshire Cat makes his appearance. Gone is the small ridiculous creature we might know. This Cheshire Cat is big, mean, brutal and the last of his kind, the rest of the Cheshire having all killed each other. The Cheshire Cat leads to some of the most gory scenes we’ve had in Hellcop so far. If you’re not a fan of blood then you may want to look away as the blood splatter is rather realistic.
As I said before this is a packed issue with a few different threads. There’s the problem of the Red Queen being in our reality and then the Cheshire Cat turns up and there’s a kidnapping of one of our heroes. What I like is that all the threads get resolved (well sort of of) but none of it feels rushed. It’s very much the sort of issue that you want to keep jumping to the next page because of the tension and danger elements. It reads really well and almost feels like an oversized issue, even though it isn’t because the plotting is so tight.
I very much enjoyed this delve into the nature of Wonderland breaking into our world. It was an exciting ride with a lot of action, tension and of course a touch of humour. There are still a few lose ends lying about and I have enjoyed those bits of plot continuity. We’re getting more of them as time goes by which works really well. The art is the usual solid standard too. I am intrigued as to who might turn up next.