Coming from the clearly depraved mind of Garth Ennis, A Walk Through Hell has been a consistently chilling and fiendishly clever series for AfterShock. A Walk Through Hell #3 is no different, delivering another helping of decidedly unpleasant imagery, while tying together the past and present plotlines in a way that the first two issues didn’t.
FBI agents McGregor and Shaw are still roaming the surreal corridors of a hellish warehouse, where last issue their fellow agent remained locked in a suicidal trance, repeatedly blowing more and more chunks from his own head. Nothing in A Walk Through Hell #3 matches that prolonged sadism, but it has a good go with a particularly creative suicide. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
With Ennis it’s always liable to change in an instant, but from what I can work out, the literally heart-stopping labyrinth within which McGregor and Shaw find themselves is somehow the work of the serial kidnapper, sex offender and presumably murderer that they’ve been tracking in their past-tense investigations. How it all syncs up is anyone’s guess, but the duelling plot strands began to come together in A Walk Through Hell #3 in a way that makes the story suddenly richer and more complex. It also raises a lot more questions than it answers, at least for now, but that’s just the way of things.
The focus on plot development in this issue has slightly sidelined the book’s notable political commentary, with the gay, liberal McGregor having much more to worry about than throwing shade at the (still as yet nameless) President. But there’s still a sense here of the less fortunate having been made to suffer by the machinations of their faceless overlords, as evidenced by the grim discovery of three dead illegal immigrants in the bowels of the warehouse.
Goran Sudzuka’s simplistic but subtle art remains a strong point in A Walk Through Hell #3, and his morbidity is disturbingly detailed. Ive Svorcina’s colours continue to contrast the darker palette of the current goings-on with brighter flashback panels, although a reduction in that regard helps to symbolise the weaving of those particular story strands, and the sequencing remains another real highlight.
A Walk Through Hell #3 is a tunnelling brain worm of a comic, with depravity to spare and a masterful sense of pacing and tension. It positions Garth Ennis as a true master of what one might charitably describe as “weird shit”, and solidifies his place in comics canon as the go-to guy for page-turners you can’t stand to look at.
A Walk Through Hell #3 / $3.99 / 32 pages / Color / on sale 7.25.2018