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Hell Yeah #2 – Review

Time travel and parallel dimensions are two concepts that are incredibly hard to pull off in stories.  For starters, everyone has a different way they handle the ideas, paradoxes, and rules so considerable time often has to be devoted to explaining the rules.  Also, a lot of times, even the best constructed stories start to fall apart if you spend too much time thinking about them.  (For example, the first two Terminator movies) Of course, that doesn't mean they can't become classic stories (think X-Men and the Age of Apocalypse)  The end of Hell Yeah #1 revealed that the main character was dead in all dimensions other than the one we had been reading.  While I found most of the first issue to be standard fare, the premise was interesting and the parallel dimension reveal at the end of the issue, so I decided to check out this second issue.

My first problem with this issue is that the author has decided to jump around from dimension to dimension without making it clear to the user - say, with a dialogue box, coloring, or changes to the gutters.  So the issue felt disjointed as I was thrown from dimension to dimension and left to figure out what was going on a few panels in.  If there's one thing I hate when reading comics, it's not knowing what's going on and having to back-track after I figure it out.  Examples include, text panel not connected to anyone and without clarity about who is speaking until I get to the next page or further along and, in this book, jumping around without indicating a scene change.  It doesn't help that the dimensions aren't sufficiently different to tell that something is going on.  It's not like one has cyborgs and another has regular humans.

Eventually, after a second read, I had a handle on what was going on.  I figured out why the ladies arrived at the end of the first issue and what they were up to.  And that's when I came to my second problem with this issue - the author seems to have abandoned the premise of the universe - the entire reason I had picked up the book in the first place - that this is a world where Super Humans have left us all feeling inadequate and powerless.  This is a slightly unfair critique as it's only the second issue, but given all the weight given to that portion of the story, I had expected something more like Powers, where the focus is either on how humans are affected by this new world or like Incorruptable, on how Super Humans could eventually betray our trust.

Next to those criticisms, my other problem with this book is minor - it appears to be trying to be edgy for the sake of being edgy rather than because the book's universe demands it.  In other words, the characters appear to be acting as though they live in a punk world without the punk world as the context.  For example, we get a replay of the fight from the first book in another universe.  In this universe, after that fight, two of the main characters suddenly find themselves so turned on that they just decide to grind on each other right there on the sidewalk.  I'm no prude.  I thought the first sex scene between Kitty Pryde and Colossus in Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men was pretty awesome and had a great payoff.  I thought the sex scene in Catwoman from the New 52 was long-deserved, if awkwardly narrated.  This scene just seems odd.  And the dialog between the characters just doesn't ring true to me.  Maybe things have changed in the decade since I left college, but these kids just don't speak like anyone I've ever known.  Finally, two key characters in this issue are reacting to alternate universe versions of people as if they were the ones they knew.  I'm on the fence about this.  On the one hand - humans are irrational and if you saw an alternate dimensional version of your dead relative or best friend, you might have irrational feelings towards them.  This is one of the things Rick Remender is exploring with AoA Nightcrawler in Uncanny X-Force.  But, at the same time, the alternate dimension person ISN'T your dead relative or best friend.  They might not even know you in this dimension and it's weird to take extreme actions on their behalf.  I know this is a little vague, but if I got into any more detail it'd be too much of a spoiler.

Those criticisms aside, and some of them are larger than others, this issue does succeed in once again dropping a pretty huge cliffhanger in this issue.  I'll definitely be taking a look at the next issue to see how this is resolved, but I'd advise you take a look at the first few pages in your comic shop before you drop your hard-earned currency on it.  Or wait until my next review so you know whether it's worth it.


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