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'Hell to Pay' #4 raises the stakes and delivers some answers
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Comic Books

‘Hell to Pay’ #4 raises the stakes and delivers some answers

‘Hell to Pay’ #4 focuses on a new character and a tragic past.

Hell to Pay has been an exciting series that has kept us on the edge of our seats as it’s kicked off the start of a larger horror universe. It’s also in development for a television series, increasing the buy-in. The fourth issue, out in comic shops this week, may be the strongest as far as revealing what’s really going on. It’s an entire issue focused on a different character with a long story about wealth and capitalism. Buckle up, folks: it’s an interesting twist that recontextualizes the villain of the series.

If you’re unfamiliar with this series, the basic premise is easy enough to understand. For centuries, humans have used gold coins stolen from Hell to trade with demons. Money has aided in founding the idea of trading in stocks and helped manipulate human culture into the capitalist society it is today. Our protagonists hope to acquire every last coin so they can be retired from the Shrouded College, but somehow new coins are popping up. Hell to Pay #4 answers the question of why.

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The opening page of this issue is impressively done with great lettering by Chris Crank. A character we’re unfamiliar with is talking directly to us with bodies strewn across the room. The speech he gives is incredibly well-written by Charles Soule, which makes a good point. The entire series has been hammering home the point that capitalism is bad, and you get that argument strongly written here.

On the very next page, we can see he’s bartering with a demon as he has one of the gold coins in hand. What he’s after is revealed to be something opposite of what you might expect, especially since each issue has shown flashbacks of greedy people in the past wishing to be rich beyond their imagination. That sets the issue up as something entirely new as we learn why this character wants nothing at all and is willing to barter with a demon to get it.

'Hell to Pay' #4 review

Love how the word balloons are laid out here.
Credit: Image Comics

Much of this issue is focused on this mysterious character’s past, which is rife with hard work and accomplishments, but it is taken away from him at every turn. It’s a tragic story that shows he never gives up. This all leads to a major reveal that explains how coins are being created seemingly from nothing and raises the stakes. Let’s say a specific angel may be popping up soon.

Will Sliney’s art is great at making you commiserate with the narrator in this issue. We get to see an entire life lived, set in Mumbai. While most of the issue is regular people in street clothes, there is a demon with a cool design and a double-page splash depicting the hunger of the embodiment of money. The latter imagery ties nicely with the inventive ways Sliney has depicted Hell in previous issues.

Hell to Pay #4 surprises as it shows how much higher the stakes are while giving us some answers along the way. Meanwhile, this series continues to show us examples of people bartering with demons in the past and how that’s all related to the story set in the current timeline. It does boldly change gears with an entire issue devoted to an unfamiliar character, but it pays off in the end.

'Hell to Pay' #4 raises the stakes and delivers some answers
‘Hell to Pay’ #4 raises the stakes and delivers some answers
Hell to Pay #4
Hell to Pay #4 surprises as it shows how much higher the stakes are while giving us some answers along the way. Meanwhile, this series continues to show us examples of people bartering with demons in the past and how that's all related to the story set in the current timeline. It does boldly change gears with an entire issue devoted to an unfamiliar character, but it pays off in the end.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
Masterful first page from lettering, to art, to writing
Raises the stakes with its big reveal in the end
Clever way to tie the villain into the flashbacks
Plot progression stands still to tell this mysterious character's past
8.5
Great
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