Calcified Nihilism Made Into Art – A Walk Through Hell #12
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Shaw awakens in the dirt near a diner. She walks in, and we see her last moments with Carnahan–or whatever he is now. He continues to explain who or what he is now and what is coming. He explains the politics of it and how it’s been orchestrated. He’s proud of his creations, and he tells Shaw why he deserves all of this and why she’s made it farther than any of her peers in the FBI. Shaw is a fighter, and she will try to stop Carnahan to her dying breath, but nothing can stop what is coming.
“The Right embraces irrationality. The Left consumes itself in a battle for the moral high ground. Next thing you know, you’re hunting for your loved ones in a stadium of bodies… And if you’re hoping for the peace of nuclear oblivion, I assure you, you will never get that lucky.”
I’m going to give you, the reader of this review, a peek behind the curtain for a moment. It’s hard (for me, I can’t speak for my Comicon peers) to stay passionate about every comic you read and review, especially when you crank out about 15 a week in between other jobs and commitments. I do try, and I do like to think I’ve succeeded in that as every comic deserves an earnest and engaged reviewer.
A Walk Through Hell #12 didn’t make it very hard to stay engaged and passionate. I’ve followed this series since its first issue, and I’ve since dived deep into the Garth Ennis canon. He’s become one of my favorite writers, with Preacher, of course, being my favorite while second place is a toss-up between Punisher MAX and, well, A Walk Through Hell.
Aside from some parts of Punisher MAX, A Walk Through Hell is likely the most nihilistic and depraved comic written by Ennis, and it is a masterpiece. It proudly displays the most cruel and hateful parts of the human soul and revels in it. Meanwhile, this issue, as you could glean from the quote above, laughs at the reader for thinking something better could yet be on its way.
The series has had political undertones since the beginning, and this issue makes those explicit. Like any enterprising writer arrogant enough that he’s willing to put his words in front of an audience, I do consider myself politically engaged and have strong opinions on the matter. I’m not quite as hopeless as A Walk Through Hell is on the matter, but it does speak to my thoughts at my darkest moments when that dread for the future is at its greatest. It’s brilliant, and it has a damn good perception of the American political system. It does have me missing when every other Ennis comic had a reference to the Irish Troubles.
Also, some of the similarities to the revelations and details of the J*ffr*y Epst*in case makes the comic even more chilling (the name being censored to keep this review out of the search engines of cranks).
The ending is, fittingly, grim yet ambiguous. It loops back around to the mass shooting that opened the series, and Shaw shares her thoughts on the matter.
Goran Sudžuka’s skill and talent showcased in this book cannot be overstated. His ability to render the chilling, almost blank but slightly grinning visage of Carnahan is incredible, and the shadow work is phenomenal. Ive Svorcina’s color art is similarly brilliant, giving this book a cold and oppressive color palette that leaves you feeling alienated and alone.
A Walk Through Hell #12 gives a picture-perfect ending to this AfterShock series. This one was gripping from beginning to end, and I will be waiting with baited breath to see what the creators of this series do next. This one gets a very strong recommendation from yours truly. Read it.
A Walk Through Hell #12 comes to us from writer Garth Ennis, artist Goran Sudžuka, color artist Ive Svorcina, letterer Rob Steen, and cover artist Goran Sudžuka with Ive Svorcina.
Final Score: 10/10