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‘Hellbreak’ #2: gear up

‘Hellbreak’ #2: gear up

Cover

Hellbreak #2
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Brian Churilla
Colors by Dave Stewart
Published by Oni Press

Cullen Bunn and Brian Churilla’s brand new ongoing continues with the second installment of Hellbreak. The story follows the Kerberos Initiative, a highly advanced occult military program funded by the Church that plunges down into the depths of Hell to recover kidnapped souls. Every Hell is different, always full of new horrors to behold and every drop is a test for Orpheus Team if they can survive what horrors the Pit has in store for them.

The issue opens up with a brand new case, one Javier Romero has been possessed by a demon and Orpheus Team is called in to do what they do. While this entry feels somewhat like a retread of old ground, it makes up for it in character. So far, most of the Kerberos Initiative have been little more than one dimensional stock figures and this issue gives the lead members some healthy characterization. How the cast reacts to their terrifying job as a demon killing black-ops team is compelling from team leader Jenner suffering serious loss but also possessing introspection, rescue technician Joseph’s nihilism, Dr. Caryle’s interest in examining Hell’s inhabitants for science, and best of all Father Gabriel Lloyd who turns the tables on the demons he exorcises by reminding them that humans are the real force to be reckoned with. Some other background members such as Nadia fall a bit short as she more reacts to Joseph and other members have only a few bits of dialogue.

If there’s one thing that makes Hellbreak pop, it’s the artwork by Brian Churilla. Similar to the likes of Mike Mignola, Churilla creates a fine mix of modern military and Gothic horror that sells the book’s look. His figures all appear rather unremarkable but in a positive way, the members of Orpheus Team resemble actual people in place of romanticized military heroes. Meanwhile, the depths of Hell take on disturbing organic architecture. There are little touches such as crowded rooms of scientists that stand out. While most would just have a generic layout of figures, Churilla gives every character a unique look and attitude about them. Dave Stewart’s colors also are commendable. Earthy tones of green, brown, and gray occupy the human world while the layers of Hell are comprised of more surreal and stark contrast colors.

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While still getting on its feet, Hellbreak #2 builds up its characters and sets the stage for a compelling adventure. It examines the thoughts of people who literally have a Hellish job and shows potential to be a highly satisfying series.

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