Review: ‘To Hell You Ride’ #2

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An ambitious revenge/western horror hybrid, To Hell You Ride #2 continues to be a visually sweeping tale. This is a comic you will not be able to put down. After playing such memorable roles in film and TV, readers will discover that actor Lance Henriksen certainly has a knack for comics writing.

WRITTEN: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
ART BY: Tom Mandrake
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: January 9th, 2013

After a sacred burial ground is disturbed, a deadly curse is set into motion onto a small town. The corrupt townspeople and the winter tourists are going to feel the wrath of the angry spirits if things aren’t set right. Vengeance must be served as their skin begins to burn and the flesh is melted off their bones. Feeling betrayed by his heritage and his community, Two Dogs ends up in jail after a long and bitter drinking spree. When he is finally sober, Two Dogs must make the most important decision of his life. He must decide whether or not to save an entire town that has fallen into sin.

What’s really impressive is how Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey deliver many well-written scenes without dialogue. The thought captions, especially from Two Dogs, serve as an eloquent flow of stream of consciousness. The writing reveals a lot about character motivations and back-story. Because he has been betrayed by everyone around him, Two Dogs is indifferent, angry, and rebellious – all at the same time. He doesn’t want anything to do with this corrupt Colorado town, but there is one particular person he truly holds dear.

While the narrative jumps back and forth in time, the flashbacks connect because of a major theme; what happens in the past has a horrible consequence in the future. The personal connection between Two Dogs and Jim Shipps reveals a long history of tragedy and abandonment issues. Because he couldn’t save his best friend, Shipps is doing everything he can to save Two Dogs from himself.

The artwork by Tom Mandrake is unbelievably brilliant. Because Henriksen is known for his movie roles, there is a major focus on portraying emotion in a theatrical manner. In the opening pages, Mandrake wants the readers to see a performance captured in the stances and facial reactions. There is such detail in the poses, especially in the way Shipps stands next to Two Dogs. The emotional burden is highlighted in the close-ups when Two Dogs attends a funeral. In the flashback, Two Dogs is just a child in mourning, but none of the townspeople want to console him because of their deep racism.

When the story heads into the direction of the supernatural, the panels are highlighted by a muggy fog. When the angry spirits arrive, they look like gusts of wind in the air. The pages are covered in white as a snowstorm hits the town, bringing in the unsuspecting tourists. The scene to watch is when one of the tourists ends up melting, right in front of a screaming crowd.

Readers will be mesmerized by the Colorado setting and the Native American culture in “To Hell You Ride” #2. This is an impressive display of Henriksen’s storytelling abilities. I am really excited about the “To Hell You Ride” series. I hope the writing and artwork continue to be like this in the upcoming issues.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis