Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Oh, Hell Vol 1

This is a minor SPOILERY type review.
High school can be hell. Then there is the real Hell. Then there is the boarding school that is actually  Hell that turns teens into soul hunting demons. Zoel is a troubled teen and her adoptive parents think they are doing her a favor by sending her to The Academy. The goal is simple. Learn how to get humans to trade their souls in exchange for their wildest dreams and desires. Success gains you demonic powers. It's pass/fail and failing means losing your own soul.

 Zoel can't understand why her parents gave up on her. She isn't alone of course. There are a lot of students in this class. And teens being teens, they fall into the usual high school roles. Zoel even manages to find a nemesis in the form of the popular pretty girl, Alesse, who is all too good at bringing out the worst in people. She also delights in baiting Zoel's temper. Not that it takes much to ignite her temper. But it's especially easy when it comes to Zipper.

Zoel's roommate/potential love interest (if they can manage to get over their anger and self destructiveness) may be the only bright spot in The Academy. Their troubled pasts help them form a bond. But it is hard to hope for anything in Hell. Everything is hard in Hell. And despite a hair trigger temper and lacking faith in humanity, Zoel is just not cut out for stealing souls. People may betray and judge her, but she can't bring herself to condemn others. And that fault is about to make things even crazier. Zipper pulls off something that shouldn't be possible, harvesting a demon soul. Zoel tries to save him from from going over to the dark side and unintentionally pulls off something even more unprecedented. She breaks out of hell.

Things are happening that should not. Zoel is on the run, her classmates are hunting her, and Zipper has to decide if he is worthy of Zoel and a human life or staying an agent of Hell. Even Hell is having trouble keeping things normal. The story is inspired by writer George Wassil's work with at risk youth and a screenplay he was working on with screenwriter, Michael Connell. Along with artists Dave Hamann, Michael Birkhofer, and letterer Troy Peteri, Wassil brings this story of a fifteen year old girl fighting for her soul and the soul of someone she could care for. It's a dark and original story that is an interesting take on hell and high schoolers. It's hard not to get wrapped up in something this original. Each character is layered very well. Zipper is the tortured street thug with the heart of gold who might find hope if believes he deserves it. Zoel's nemesis, Alesse is more than just a spoiled mean girl. Well, she is a spoiled mean girl, but she is also devious, smart, and patient.

It's an impressive work that has attracted the attention of a major publisher. I won't drop a name until it happens. But Oh, Hell could be headed towards bigger distribution and exposure. Check out the pages online at OhHellComics.com where you can also buy the collected edition of Vol. 1. CHYRSALIDES.

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