‘Hellchild: Blood Money’ #2 Addresses Real Atrocities

Hellchild: Blood Money #2

From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:

Hellchild: Blood Money #2 jumps right into the thick of the action. Not only has Angelica learned what happened that fateful night but Vera has explained just what level of scum Tor is. Angelica isn’t the judgmental type when it comes to how people earn their money, but forced prostitution is a whole different ballgame. She’s not willing to turn a blind eye, but now she has bigger worries. Tor has her friend Jenny, and it’s clear Jenny’s the bait for a trap designed to take out the Hellchild.

Hellchild: Blood Money #2 Covers 

I’ll say this in nearly every Zenescope review I do; this company does variants like a champ. Whether you want high action like Cover B, a vision of Hellchild in full primal rage like on Cover D, or a dangerously sexy badass like Cover C, these variants aim to please. There isn’t a single one that I didn’t like or wouldn’t buy.

Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Hellchild: Blood Money #2, there may be spoilers below.

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My favorite cover for Hellchild: Blood Money #2 happens to be the standard, easy to acquire, and yet utterly gorgeous Cover A.  I’m a fan of the triumphant defiance on full display in this cover by Salazar and Nunes. The yellow and orange hues give it a fiery feel that fits so well with Angelica as a person. The god rays, gargoyle, and stone structures evoke thoughts of an ancient church. I think I like this one best because remanents of her origin bleed through this design.

Creative Team:

Publisher: Zenescope     Writer: Ralph Tedesco     Artwork: Butch Mapa  Colors: Dijjo

Letters: Taylor Esposito (GHOST GLYPH STUDIOS)  Editor: Terry Kavanagh     Cover Artist: Edgar Salazar & Ivan Nunes

Variant Covers: Riveiro & Grostieta; Anthony Spay & David Ocampo; Caanan White & Hedwin Zaldivar

COVER A Edgar Salazar & Ivan Nunes
COVER A
Edgar Salazar &
Ivan Nunes

Sex, Drugs, and Daddy’s Money 

In Hellchild: Blood Money #1, Angelica agreed to take on what seemed to be a babysitting job, looking after Jake, the entitled brat child of a successful L.A. businessman. Jake threw a little house party complete with drugs and prostitution that resulted in the death of two women. Both girls worked for a man named Tor, who has a penchant for extreme violence and employs it enthusiastically when making a point.

Angelica found herself dealing with this man-child’s feckless bodyguard, Stan, who indulged Jake’s whim and allowed him to go to a club. Nothing says laying low like thumping bass and a mass of unidentified bodies in a closed in space. Amid the fun, Stan suddenly lost his mind—literally. Correction: it wasn’t lost, it was all over the floor and glass banister. We last saw Angelica standing in front of Vera and Jake, facing down about a dozen of Tor’s men.

Downward Spiral

Hellchild: Blood Money #2 picks up exactly where we left Angelica, facing down Tor’s thugs. Strangely, in spite of the damage that Angelica does to two of his men, Tor orders them to stand down. He recognizes Hellchild and informs her that she is protecting a murderer. He seems to know a lot about Angelica, and that doesn’t bode well for anyone. Negotiations breakdown in a most physical manner and we learn that Tor isn’t a regular guy. Like the yard clippers in this last issue didn’t already tip us off.

Tor gets Jake in his clutches, and we learn just how deep the sense of “money fixes everything runs” as he offers Tor any amount. Note to any Jake’s out there: never attempt to negotiate with sadistic non-human members of influential criminal organizations. The odds are not in your favor.

That is unless you have Hellchild on your side. Angelica takes Tor out via what looks to bystanders like vehicular homicide and collects both Vera and Jake. While they get away, we see that escape is likely only temporary. Tor is definitely not your average human if he is human at all.

Safe temporarily, Angelica starts asking questions. Jake goes full blown moron on Hellchild, but Vera realizes that Angelica is there best hope of survival. She spills the entire story to Angelica. Just as Angelica understands what kind of filth Tor is, she learns that Jake’s parents are dead. Delivering news of a death in the family isn’t exactly Hellchild’s forte, and right now she’s all out of sympathy. Things keep getting worse as she discovers that her friend Jenny is in Tor’s clutches.

Art & Writing of Hellchild: Blood Money #2

Butch Mapa does a great job on Hellchild’s design. His detail work is excellent on close-ups. Vera’s sad, far-off gaze as she spills the story to Angelica. The shock and pain of Tor’s men when they first discover that Hellchild is a lot more than they assumed. The disbelief in Angelica’s face when she discovers just how strong Tor is. There is a lot to love here.

That said, many of the panels are zoomed out, and those shots suffer from a lack of detail. This might be a stylistic choice because, in the full-page splash of Tor leaping over the multi-car collision (page 13), it’s clear that Mapa uses graduating levels of detail for distance perspective and to center the readers focus. Still, I found it a bit annoying. Maybe it was just that we had a lot of those panels in Hellchild: Blood Money #2.

Rating: 5/5 Pull List Material

  1. Take a Pass
  2. Give it a Look
  3. Borrow
  4. Buy
  5. Pull List

Hellchild Blood Money #2 is on my pull list for several reasons. First, Zenescope art is my comic book version of chocolate. It doesn’t come with calories, so I can have all I want. That’s a good thing because Tedesco is crafting a solid action story here. You can’t understand the story if you aren’t following the title.

Another thing I like is that Tedesco takes on a real-world topic in this mini-series that gets overlooked too often in our society. Human trafficking and forced prostitution are serious and horrific realities. Tedesco treats them as the travesty they are without wasting a lot of time on social commentary. Angelica gets right to the point on it.

MAJK’s Age Recommendation:

My age recommendation for Hellchild Blood Money #1 was a solid 18+, but Comixology lists the age as 15+ and Zenescope doesn’t list an age recommendation on their site. That said, I am sticking with my 18+ advice for Hellchild Blood Money #2. I will caveat this with if you have no issue going to (or letting your kid go to) an NC-17 rated movie then Hellchild Blood Money #2 will not be an issue.” There is extreme violence graphically depicted in this issue, which is kind of a given in a lot of Zenescope comics. I’d caution anyone who isn’t comfortable with horror movies or gory scenes to consider browsing before buying.

Other Info: As I mentioned before Tedesco addresses the themes of forced prostitution and human trafficking. So far, he is doing a good job of treating them as the atrocities they are. I don’t expect he will trivialize them in future issues.

Also, Tor and his people are a walking mass of toxic masculinity & misogyny—I mean, he’s the big bad, and they are thugs but just a heads up.

Lines We Love:

Goon: “Walk away we’re not here for you, bit—”

Hellchild (interrupting) “Choose your words carefully.”

I love that she’s not about to be called out with a gendered slur by some punk with a gun. That’s right, folks. Angelica ain’t got no time for that mess.

Next Issue Release Date:

Hellchild: Blood Money #3 is available currently in stores and on the Zenescope Website.

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