Hell to Pay came onto the scene with an exciting world well worth exploring, adventurer protagonists who are married and trapped, and plenty of demons. It’s the first series in a planned shared horror universe, with each series focusing on a different horror subject. Hell to Pay continues this week with its second issue as we learn more about the demonic world and as the heroes try to figure out why there are more than the original 666 coins on Earth.
If you like the historical implications revealed in Hell to Pay #1, you’re going to love the opening of Hell to Pay #2. This issue opens in Amsterdam in 1625, and we meet a man attempting to make a deal to become incredibly rich from a demon. He has a coin, but the demon’s got values and won’t just hand him a chest of gold. Writer Charles Soule cleverly reveals the plan the demon has, involving the creation of something that exploits the stock market that all of capitalism revolves around to this day. It’s a clever connection, further revealing Hell has been involved in every act of profit generation in human history.
From there, the rest of the issue focuses on Sebastian and Maia’s attempt to get out of the Shrouded College. After being healed, they became servants of the organization and thought they’d be released if they found all 666 Hell coins. The problem is that they found more than 666, which means their debt isn’t done. In a pivotal scene, we see a few of the folks in the Shrouded College leadership, and each one is quite weird and supernatural. One can see many stories spilling out of the leaders and their backstories.
From there, this issue establishes a relationship between Sebastian, Maia, and a man in a bone cage burning blue fire. Essentially, the creative team sends our heroes on a quest to find another coin, leading to them making a deal with the man in the cage. It’s a neat way of going about it, as the relationship feels earned and not forced. As the series continues, there’s also a power dynamic between our heroes and the prisoner that should be fun to unpack.
That relationship is the biggest new addition and take away from the second issue. The mysterious man using coins is still a big mystery, and the Shrouded College is also a big mystery. We don’t need a lot of answers to every issue, but there isn’t a lot to go on just yet.
The action sequence involves a prison in Mexico and a prison break. I can’t say the action has as much zip or as many awe-inducing moments as the first issue–it’s only two pages and seven panels total–but it’s good for a hammer joke and leads to a reminder that Sebestian and Maia have more than just their lives on the line. Props to Sliney for rendering another gross and mystically cool-looking demon in this issue.
Hell to Pay #2 offers another intriguing historical fact involving demons while propelling our heroes on a new adventure to save their lives from servitude. Along the way, they pick up a surprising new member to their team that should spell fun new dynamics to explore going forward.
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