The battle between rockstar rebellion and draconian religious extremism continues in the fourth issue of Satanic Hell, published by Alterna Comics. Writer Grigoris Douros and his creative team (including artists Kevin Enhart and Newel Anderson, colorist Jimmy Kerast, and letterer E.T. Dollman) continue to deliver a bold and rambunctious, rock-and-roll tale that, while highly sensationalized, still manages to touch on important, modern-day American social issues.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
In Satanic Hell #4 Douros offers a script that pushes his plot forward while still providing plenty of the rebellious fun, courtesy of his lead characters. The issue opens with the band “altering” various pro-religious billboards via a can or two of spray paint as a form of subversive promotion, but Satanic Hell #4 also see Douros introduce what appears to be the book’s first major villain, The Saint. A twisted, masked hitman with a thing for white duds, The Saint appears as though he couldn’t care less about the religious beliefs of his employers given that his “agent” has to inform him that during this latest job (the elimination of our favorite death metal band, Satanic Hell), he must “ . . . avoid any collateral damage . . . ” and not take out any more “religious folk.” Like Vader reminding Boba Fett that there shall be “no disintegrations,” this scene quickly establishes the type of killer that has been unleashed upon our heroes.
Douros also touches on a few interesting points, showing the power of shame and how it can be used to control those who feel such a consuming emotion, as well as introducing Padre Nunez who is an example of a less extreme and more accepting form of religion. Both are interesting elements of Douros’ script, but, in the end, the writer’s depiction still follows the more simplified and exaggerated tone of the previous Satanic Hell issues instead of seizing the opportunity to have a more insightful discussion of the pros and cons of organized religion and the people behind it.
Douros’ creative team continues to provide the dark, gritty, emotive look and feel that Satanic Hell has established in previous issues, and as I’ve mentioned many times before, the comic book “extras” in the back of the book continue to be one of my favorite aspects of each issue and are an excellent form of “world-building” from Douros. (This issue features a 3-page interview from Brimstone Quarterly with the band members of Satanic Hell.)
Be sure to read my previous reviews of the series to get an even more detailed examination of this unique comic series:
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! An, remember, never trust a priest who wears mirrored aviator sun glasses . . .
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer