Jun 20, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 846: Inferno: Hellbound #1, January 2002

https://www.comics.org/issue/954178/

This will be the first of five times I'm going to read this comic over the course of the project. Top Cow is one of those imprints/publishers that really loves doing multiple covers, and Inferno #1 gets six of them. I don't have cover A, but I've got the rest, and I count them as separate comics within the collection. And, honestly, it's interesting enough that I don't mind reading it repeatedly.

I'm not sure if this comic ties in to the larger Top Cow shared universe (which includes such titles as Witchblade and The Darkness), as there's not nods to other comics (as far as I can tell) or guest cameos by characters from the more popular titles. The aesthetic definitely fits with the rest of the universe, but that has more to do with the artists involved than with the narrative itself. Apparently the comic is based on a screenplay which seems to have been picked up by a production studio, and the little information I can find about the comic claims it was cancelled due to legal issues. Perhaps the original writers realized they could make more money on the property as a film than as a comic. Unfortunate, as I'm actually quite intrigued by the range of characters that have been introduced thus far.

One thing I'll give the comic is it recognizes the literary history of Inferno. By the issue's end, when the main characters of the story come more clearly into focus, we see that they are called Dante and Beatrice. Where Virgil leads Dante through the levels of Hell, Beatrice takes over and leads him through Purgatory and Heaven. Perhaps, then, in having the Beatrice character approach the criminal Dante, we're seeing a potential path of redemption for a character who, according to the comic, can travel into Hell only because he is already "destined to" be there.

There were only 2 more issues of the series, and I don't have them, though I'm considering picking them up, just to see where the story was heading. And, as far as I know, it's never been finished, in comics or in any other medium. Ah well.

To be continued.

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