Review: Hot Damn #1

(IDW 2016)

Writer: Ryan Ferrier

Illustrator: by Valentin Ramon

Editor: David Hedgecock

Publisher: Ted Adams

I love mythology.  I’ve studied it in school as well as on my own. One of the aspects of mythology that I have always found interesting is the Underworld.

In America’s Christian dominated society, we are all very much aware of the idea of Heaven and Hell – many religions having something similar.  What’s interesting about the Underworld in this book is that it is a combination of Heaven and Hell. Depending on what you did in life, you could end up in one of many places in Hades. The worst of the worst end up in Tartarus and the Fields of Punishment – the place that is most like the Christian Hell – eternal punishment, fire and brimstones, you get the idea. Then there are Elysium and Isles of the Blessed – where those who have done good in life get to live, enjoying a life of rest and pleasure. Everyone else gets to end up in the Fields of Asphodel – but that’s not really relevant to this story. What’s relevant is Heaven and Hell. Hot Damn, as you have already guessed, is a story about the afterlife. The story follows Teddy Graham, a young man who lived a young life of sex, drugs, and theft and who find’s himself in Hell. There’s just one catch, Hell isn’t anything like the Bible says. And while at first it seems great, he’s about to discover it’s so much worse than anyone could ever have guessed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 6.18.08 AMThe comic opens on what appears to be the “worst part of town” of any big city. With a Los Vegas sign saying “Welcome to Fabulous Hell” to go along with the sings that read Sex, Boys, Girls, Drink, and so on. We then get to see the run down apartment of Teddy Graham being woken by his Demon Sponsor, who looks a lot like a Satyr with a demon tail. Teddy isn’t happy because he has to go to group again (which is every twelve hours) which really brings him down and he wants to enjoy his after life, even if it is in Hell. As they walk to group, the images are what’s powerful. The city, the demons and people (who remind me of just turned Zombies) walking around, it really hit’s you that this is Hell – even if Teddy doesn’t seem to get it just yet.

Group is my favorite part of the comic. Lead by a demon who looks like a humanized goat named Abaddon, this is where I felt the story really came together, at least for me as the reader, of course it’s going to take Teddy a while to figure it out.  Abaddon seems like a really nice guy. He is sympathetic and encouraging to Teddy, getting Teddy to tell the story of his death (I’ll let you read what happened yourself). But lets not forget he is a demon and this is Hell, so nothing is ever as it seems. While in group, a man gets mad about being in Hell. He says all he ever did was “Jerk it in a food court. A couple times.”  Abaddon tries to get the man to calm down, but he get’s angrier stating he never agreed to this and that he wants out. At this we see the demon in Abaddon, who says” I asked you nicely, you son of a B-word. Now burn! Forever! You jerk ass face!” and the man catches fire and is pulled into a hole in the ground that has opened under his feet. Abaddon then goes back to being happy, and the session goes on. At the end of the session Abaddon stops Teddy from leaving right away and tells him that he likes him, but Teddy needs to start accepting his sins. Because the sooner he starts accepting his sins, the sooner he can feel them and the suffering can begin. And after a thousand years or so, he can become a demon too. And while Teddy has to go on and experience a bit more for it all to sink it, I got it.

Hell is for people who were inconsiderate, who only cared about themselves and no one else. And now that they are dead, they have to learn what it means to be human. They have to learn to feel the pain they caused their loved ones. They have to learn to see the error of their ways.  And once they do – nothing. After all, it’s Hell, there is no redemption. Redemption is for Heaven, which isn’t all it seems either, but I’ll let you read that for yourself. I’ll tell you this though, Heaven and Hell are nothing like the ideas I was raised on, and it’s nothing like my mythology books either. And it really makes you stop and wonder, what is to come when you die? One thing is for sure, be careful how you live your life, because the afterlife is nothing like you ever thought. And because it’s the afterlife, this comic is going to end with a twist that you never saw coming.

AliCardaropoli-profile-pic-2Ali is a creative writer with an emphasis on Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Books. She first fell in love with superheroes when they were used to teach her to read. When not practicing at her dojo or out seeing the latest superhero movie with her friends, Ali can be found curled up on the couch with her dog and a good book.

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