As it turns out, Hell isn’t what we thought it was. It’s frighteningly easy to wind up there, but it’s not full of demons and watched over unceasingly by Satan. It’s mostly people just being awful to each other because they can.
This brings us to Isaiah Jefferson and Erin Foley, a Depression-era gangster and a girl who died young respectively. The two are unlikely friends trying to get by in the afterlife when an angel makes the job offer of the millennium.
Heavenly Blues is a beautifully glib look at the afterlife. It’s not overtly terrible, but it does have its subtle horrors. Being left for eternity to wonder how one got there can be enough.
Make no mistake, these two aren’t benign. We are introduced to the two with them pouring molten gold on a new arrival.
However, their charms and quirks quickly win over the reader. They make for an odd couple, and they didn’t know one another in life. They met when Erin was torturing Isaiah after he arrived. However, their personalities just seem to click. They’re both smartasses with short tempers, and they help temper each other’s edges.
It’s almost like the inverse of Judas by Loveness and Rebelka (Heavenly Blues came first, not that it matters). Where Judas is a perpetual Judeo-Christian existential nightmare about us being manipulated by cosmic forces beyond our reckoning, Heavenly Blues just accepts that we are eternally being pushed back and forth by celestial masterminds.
It’s damn witty too. The jokes are quick and fast, and it leaves itself very open for expanding this version of eternal damnation.
Bruno Hidalgo brings a unique art style which brings a deceivingly plain aesthetic to the proceedings. The devil is in the details, as they say, and there is a lot of expressiveness and fun in the margins of Hidalgo’s art. Plus, his colorwork is similarly deceivingly plain-looking. However, the washed-out palette adds to the banality of this underworld.
Heavenly Blues is a charming excursion into a different kind of eternal punishment. With a lot of humor, great characters, and great artwork, this comic brings a lot to the table. Ben Kahn and Bruno Hidalgo do some great work here. You should definitely check it out.
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