REVIEW: ‘Bloody Hel’ by Clay McCormack, Russ Badgett

Bloody Hel promises a a shattering apocalyptic throwdown that it often forgets about, but the ending is a strong one.

Bloody Hel is a book with two of three main elements of a great comic: stellar artwork and a strong ending. Where it appears to be lacking is the writing. There’s a story there, one that can be fantastic if it had the right care and effort. Unfortunately, somewhere along the lines, Bloody Hel becomes unsure of what it wants to be.

Bloody Hel is a comic that never quite takes flight. It fumbles at takeoff, trying to move between two different stories that eventually intersect. When they come together, Bloody Hel captures the “shattering apocalyptic throwdown” it promises. Epic battles. Stellar artwork. There are plenty of reasons to give Bloody Hel a chance. Especially those who enjoy Norse mythology.

While not exactly a Thor story, Bloody Hel does a great job handling its presentation of Gods and Ragnarok. The scenes in which characters are forced to make decisions that’ll save them at the cost of hurting others are powerful. In those moments, the characters manage to feel like realized characters. They become more than images on a page.

The best part of the book, of course, is the artwork. While sticking to two colors – various greens and yellows – the story still manages to pop. The artwork captures the uncertainty and fear promised in the words, while the dialogue is clean, yet loud. Unfortunately, though, the fault lines are evident even with the fantastic artwork.

That, of course, isn’t to say Bloody Hel isn’t a good read. While it does lose itself midway through, the ending is strong and successfully readies readers for more tales from this world.

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