Heavenly Blues #4

    Writer: Ben Kahn

    Artist: Bruno Hidalgo

    Heavenly Blues #4 is what you can achieve once you establish a strong team of characters as writer, Ben Kahn, and artist, Bruno Hidalgo, have. Consistently solid, it’s the situation they’re dropped in that changes and in issue four that situation is being in heaven after breaking out of hell.

    Still unclear on what it is they’re supposed to be stealing, Jefferson starts the job with some basic recon on their mark, the angel, Uriel. Some of the characters get taken out of their comfort zone, and it’s cool to see them forced into thieving in ways that aren’t their personal style. I might’ve thought technology better suited to hell, then it is to heaven, but since we’re dealing with a cast from different timelines (and none of them modern), another big change has them using computers and security cameras for the first time.

    As for the question of what heaven looks like, that’s hard to say when most of the issue takes place indoors. Heaven’s motel and Heaven’s basement look a lot like their Earthly counterparts and it’s this fantastic slap to one’s expectations to have heaven be a disappointment. Their client, the archangel, Barbiel, implies any imperfections are their doing. Heaven was hunky dory before they arrived, but he’s also the angel who wants them to steal from another angel. Something fishy’s going on, and the question is whether all heaven’s involved or just the angels they’ve met (or is this a Good Place situation? I can’t wait to find out).

    Writing: 4.5

    Art: 4

    ~ Rating: ~ 4.3

     Heavenly Blues #4 is available now.

    Long Lost #2

    Writer: Matthew Erman

    Artist: Lisa Sterle

    It’s neat how the title of the series sneaks up on you this issue. A bottle issue, that’s almost entirely sisters, Piper and Frances, taking a road trip, “Long Lost” is what happens when you go on an impromptu car ride without looking up the directions.

    At the same time, a lot of things point to Piper and Frances not being lost. They grew up in Hazel Patch so are familiar with the area, at least as it was during their childhood, and while they might not end up exactly where they wanted to go, somebody, or thing’s, planned their destination to a tee.

    Long Lost #2 starts with the creature that broke into Piper’s home at the end of issue one. All genuflection and respect, writer, Matthew Erman, rips off the band aid in spectacular fashion when the creature pulls out Piper’s dog’s collar while looking for an invitation. Acting like this is perfectly acceptable, and finding the invitation soon after, this mix-up wasn’t an accident and it paints the rest of the scene as the threat it really is.

    Continuing off the wonderful pacing in issue one, the silence filled road trip is marvelously long and unbreaking, with artist, Lisa Sterle, providing nothing to distract us inside the car. Speech bubbles are used innovatively to illustrate Frances’ one-sided conversation and, without giving us a glimpse at the monster in the woods, Erman lets our imaginations run wild with the clue it has a “snout.”

    Writing: 5

    Art: 4

    ~ Rating: ~ 4.5

    Long Lost #2 goes on sale December 27th.

    InferNoct #3

    Writer: Mina Elwell

    Artist: Eli Powell

    Colorist: Tristan Elwell

    Letterer: Marshall Dillon

    Ever since she was bitten in issue one, Sam can see monsters. Able to help others like her fight their monster abusers, Sam’s no longer sure she wants to after last issue’s loss. Reluctant to continue, this is of course the issue when Sam runs into someone the monsters haven’t bit yet, but are planning to get their teeth into soon.

    A carnival setting adds visual interest to an opening flashback, but it doesn’t feel essential that the conversation take place there. Carnivals and horror go together like artist, Eli Powell, and signs (seriously, keep an eye on those marquees and billboards) but I’m curious whether there were other motives for this location.

    This is more TV language, but I love writer, Mina Elwell’s, episodic approach to storytelling, where each issue supports a standalone story while contributing to the miniseries’ throughline. The exact endgame for next month’s finale is a little foggy. After reading the solicitation for issue four it’s clear Sam’s predecessor (still no name) was starting to get at something during his conversation with her, but he doesn’t stick the landing, trailing off a bit vaguely. A conversation that’s been building for a while, it’s otherwise a very satisfying encounter.

    Powell makes a coffee break the issue’s tensest scene, and keeping with the TV language,  Tristan Elwell’s colors divide the book into clear scenes, where you also know when Sam’s seeing things on the nightmare plane. Reflecting back on InferNoct, it’s always the colors I think of first.

    Writing: 4.5

    Art: 4.5

    ~ Rating: ~ 4.5

    InferNoct #3 goes on sale December 27th.

    Rachel Bellwoar
    Fueled by Coca Cola ICEEs, Rachel Bellwoar collects TV seasons, reads comics, and tries to put her enthusiasm into words. She also shares the same initials (and first name) as Emmy winner, Rachel Bloom. If that brings her one step closer to being a triceratops in a ballet (please watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), she'll take it. Contact: rachel.bellwoar@thatsnotcurrent.com

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