LUCY CHAPLIN: SCIENCE STARLET – HELL HOLE #1/ Story by DREW EDWARDS/ Art and Letters by ANDREA MONTANO/ Cover Art by EVAN QUIRING/ Colors, Layout & Art Direction by APRIL GUADIANA/ Published by SUGAR SKULL MEDIA
Hell Hole, Texas. The name says it all.
One of the many small towns in west Texas consisting of a post office, a diner and a bar, there’s not much to call attention to Hell Hole apart from the name. Yet this is where Bella – a transgender, half-demon assassin – has come stalking a new bounty. For Hell Hole is home to a trio of women who call themselves Cerberus, after the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell, and there’s a drug cartel that will pay good money to have the women eliminated.
Bella isn’t much for morals or a fair fight, but the encounter with Cerberus is a lot less one-sided than predicted. This sends Bella seeking the help of Solomon Hitch (a.k.a. the ever-lovin’, undead superhero Halloween Man), figuring he’ll be easily suckered into dealing with Cerberus. Unfortunately, he’s busy. And his lady love, super-scientist and fashion model Lucy Chaplin, doesn’t approve of Bella or Bella’s occupation.
Still, with Bella threatening to just blow-up the whole town and kill a lot of innocent people along with Cerberus, Lucy can hardly stand idly by. And whatever else they are, Cerberus seem to be a serious threat. Thus is a reluctant dynamic duo born…
I’m quite happy to see Lucy Chaplin return in her own solo adventure. While Lucy’s a wonder as part of the supporting cast of Drew Edwards’ Halloween-Man, there’s something special about seeing her having her own crap to deal with or (in this case) having to fill in for her superhero boyfriend. It reminds me of the old Green Arrow comics by Mike Grell, which suggested Dinah Lance was tending to her own business and life as a superhero independent of whatever random nonsense Oliver Queen had just been dragged into.
We don’t get much chance to see Lucy in action, as most of the issue is devoted to exposition and half the issue passes before our heroine even gets to Hell Hole. Still, the mystery behind the city and Cerberus’ connection to it is well-paced and the finale promises plenty of action to come in the second issue. I’ve yet to be disappointed by one of Drew Edwards’ comics and I don’t expect it to happen this time.
The artwork is as solid as the story. Andrea Monatno does a fantastic job on the interiors, perfectly capturing the weird yet wacky aesthetic of Edwards’ universe. The cover by Evan Quiring perfectly sets the tone of the issue without spoiling the story. And the colors and layouts by April Guadiana are suitably eye-catching.
While this might not be the best place to start exploring the world of Halloween-Man and Lucy Chaplin: Science Starlet, new readers can jump in with this issue and have no trouble keeping up. Regardless of where you start, this is a fantastic series and Drew Edwards was rightly named Best Comic Creator of 2018 by the Austin Chronicle. I can’t wait for Part Two!