An epic supernatural tale about past mistakes and redemption, “To Hell You Ride” HC is an ambitious masterpiece of dark imagery and nonlinear storytelling. Brilliantly put together, this is a clever hybrid of the horror and western genres. From the mind of iconic actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens), “To Hell You Ride” is an unforgettable read that will stay with you for a very long time.
Written By: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
Art By: Tom Mandrake
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release: Dec. 4th, 2013
Sins of the past have released an unforgiving curse upon the innocent and guilty of Telluride. Abandoned by his own people and culture, Two-Dogs witnesses firsthand the deadly outbreak of a spiritual infection. As the wrath of angry spirits continues mercilessly, the townspeople have spontaneously burst into flames. After years of hate and racism, a civil war has finally caught up between the Insiders and Outsiders. While military forces are desperately trying to keep the plague from spreading, the entire town is quarantined and no one is allowed to leave. A reluctant hero, Two-Dogs must save the town that never wanted him in the first place. With the clock counting down, the military is ready to press the red button and wipe Telluride off the map.
In their nonlinear structure, writers Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey jump around the past and present to tell Telluride’s timeline. Through the eyes of Two-Dogs, we see how years of racism and corruption has caused the entire town to eventually lose its soul. With strong character development, Two-Dogs starts out as an angry loner who rises to the call of his destiny. As a tragic hero, Two-Dogs knows a sacrifice has to be made to redeem himself and the other townspeople.
Henriksen and Maddrey cleverly capture an allegorical tale that speaks volumes about Hurricane Katrina and post 9/11 mentality. The writers hit home with the war themes, especially when one of the characters delivers the line, “You’re either with me or against me.” Separated from the rest of the world, the town of Telluride has to go through its own tragedy to learn the true meaning of survival. Is it in our human nature to repeat the sins of the past? Or do we allow ourselves a chance to change?
When you look at and study each panel, this is artist Tom Mandrake’s best work to date. What’s truly amazing about Mandrake is how he captures a theatrical performance in his artwork. Pay particular attention to the facial expressions and body language of the characters. Two-Dogs has so much to say with just the glare of his eyes. Mandrake adds so much detail to the wrinkles on Five George’s shriveled features.
Mandrake doesn’t hold back during his depictions of the body horror meltdowns. Mandrake illustrates the heat swirling around the burning body and the eyes popping out of its socket. While showing the gruesomeness of the meltdowns, Mandrake also captures the surreal mysticism of the Native American culture. Notice the spirits of his grandfathers flowing in the air like gusts of wind as Two-Dogs rides into town on a horse.
Definitely worth having in your comics collection, “To Hell You Ride HC” is visually stunning in its imagery and stylishly written in its prose. Much like his performances, Lance Henriksen delivers a memorable stamp into his first foray into comics. I hope Henriksen and Maddrey come up with another comic. I can’t wait to see what artist Tom Mandrake will do to top this work.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis