Writer: Ian Edginton
Artists: Steve Pugh, Dan Jackson (colours)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Hellgate: London is an upcoming videogame by Flagship Studios, which is comprised of some of the folks that brought us the seminal game series Diablo. Like its spiritual predecessor, Hellgate deals with hellish demons, except this time they’ve come straight from some hell to our Earth. Like many videogames launching these days, Hellgate is being released along with books and comics to go along with it. I, for one, am not opposed to this; however, I don’t usually expect superior quality or anything either with game product tie-in things. It’s always nice to be proven wrong… sort of.
Hellgate: London #1 starts off by showing us the future London of 2038, 18 years after a war had begun with invading demons from some “hellish parallel.” Of course, the stalwart and bold inhabitants of the ruined, post apocalyptic city are fighting back, in the form of three different sects: The templars, the demon hunters and the scary magic wielding cabalists. Through an accident, ancient secrets are discovered within old 10th century documents, and it is decided a coalition of the three groups must be formed to undergo an important quest. Throughout the book we are introduced to the “marked” characters that will represent one of each party for the mission. There’s also a lot of screen time allotted for demon killing in a number of mystical and physically violent ways.
That’s pretty much it. It’s really not a bad story at all, and it’s presented decently enough. I wouldn’t call this kind of stuff “compelling” or anything, but it is somewhat interesting and fairly action packed. Ian Edginton, whose work in 2000AD (like "Stone Island" and "The Red Seas") I admire very much, does a rather good job of introducing us to the blasted ruin of our demon-infested future. His dialogue seems tight enough, though nothing overly amazing; not that I’d expect tremendous prose from a title like this, anyway. The pacing makes this a quick and enjoyable read, and I can’t see anyone who digs on the idea of futuristic templars (with neat weapons), whacked mystics, and brutal demon killers not liking the Hellgate: London comic. The art is pretty much what I expected, and is above average but not mind blowing. The action is captured very well, and the world in which the story takes place is certainly scary and dangerous by the vivid pictures of it alone. I would like to point out that Dan Jackson did an excellent job with the colours as the illustrations are greatly enhanced by his work. So, as far as technical side of things go, this book is spot on.
I couldn’t help but think they weren’t taking any chances when they decided to put out a Hellgate comic. It’s definitely not terrible; it’s rather good, in fact. But there is little to make the story stand out too much from everything else out there. Keep in mind that the team on this book have to follow whatever story and details established by the upcoming Hellgate: London videogame (I assume), so they shouldn’t be held accountable for anything that seems too overdone in past works, in various mediums. I mean, the plot is simple: Demons come to Earth; Demons wreck awful destruction; Mankind’s valiant and faith/magic-driven chosen few go on expedition to save the world; Violence and ass-handing ensues; I hope you like first-person shooters. That’s it in a nutshell. Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to play this game, and I think Edginton and Co. did a great job of adapting said game into a decent comic. Hellgate: London #1 is a fast-paced and fun set-up of an issue; let’s hope issue #2 is a bit more on the remarkable side of things.
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