In this issue, Bethany Black discovers the surprisingly seductive nature of Hell as readers see what her life was like before the Rapture. It’s a surprising and captivating story.
The most interesting aspect of this story for me was the Devil’s intriguingly seductive reasoning why one would prefer Hell to Heaven. It has to do with the nature of ego: “My dear, in Heaven His megalomania grows even worse. There He demands your total obliteration. Once there, you would be in a state of eternal, inane, bliss. You would be lost to it. Here – in despair at the putrid reality He has created, you will live eternally as you were in life – resentful. Above all else, here, you keep your desires – your loves.”
This line of reasoning is interesting for a few reasons, not least because writer Remender seems to be implying that one of the reasons that some people prefer Hell to Heaven is a kind of narcissistic attachment to one’s mortal self, that Hell is people caught up in themselves and that Heaven is for people who can live for others. Hell is self, Heaven is others.
Maybe I’m reading more into the story than Remender is going after, but it’s intriguing that this monologue comes shortly after Bethany is faced with the horrors of her family life and her possible fate had the Rapture not happened. At the moment of her greatest weakness, the Devil seizes Bethany and tries to get her to be drawn into a hell of self. Thankfully, the cavalry (or is it the Calvary?) seems to be riding to the rescue.
The only real weakness of this issue for me was Micah Farritor’s artwork. This is the first issue that Farritor has illustrated, and I wasn’t fond of the bizarre and angular way he drew the characters in this issue. It was a strongly written comic, but I can’t escape the feeling that regular artist Nick Stakal, with his passionate love of shadows, would have been a better fit for this most shadowy of issues.
As always, Rick Remender’s writing on this comic delivers something unique and intriguing.