Science fiction and fantasy                                            

A Glimpse of Hell - The Dark Gospel

by Luke Cooper


Detective Danny Goulding is on the case of a brutal murder when he gets wind of a book known as the Dark Gospel. But its secrets aren't meant for mortal eyes. Yet Goulding is no ordinary detective: he's had a heart transplant, and ever since that happened his colleagues on the force have considered him a ghoulish freak. He takes a morbid interest in the grisliest investigations. His informants are demons, and his latest friend is Halo Slipping, a nephilim with a foul mouth.

The plot revolves around this Dark Gospel, which the forces of heaven and hell are fighting to obtain. The detective finds himself in the middle of that struggle, which involves an awful lot of demons, possessed souls and various other beasts coming after him and Halo. More than half of the double-page spreads feature some kind of shooting, stabbing, or other gory violence. There's also a lot of swearing and some nudity, so this graphic novel definitely isn't suitable for children.

I'm not averse to violence in stories, when the action serves a purpose. But this graphic novel is all action all the time, and not much else. The trigger-happy detective doesn't stop to think about the rights and wrongs of his actions at any point. There's no introspection. And precious little happens that doesn't involve some kind of fight. So I didn't end up caring for any of the characters because they were too one-dimensionally macho, and that includes Halo Slipping and the emo-demoness Holly. They also didn't appear to have inner lives, as though all they really stood for was shooting anything that got in their way.

The black and white artwork is stark and noirish. The faces are well drawn and the style realistic. However the way the characters are posed often let the story down. There's one panel where Halo is supposedly getting strangled, but she looks like she's standing casually. Slightly more dynamic figures and perhaps different viewpoints might have made the visuals more believable. Sometimes the issues with the graphics took me out of the story, it it's a story I was already struggling to engage with. Luke Cooper is, in my view, a much better artist than he is a storyteller. There was simply not enough substance between all of the rampant demon slaying and general winged mayhem to make A Glimpse of Hell worth a second look.

7th November 2012

Book Details

Year: 2010

Categories: Books

  Not For The Squeamish  

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1 star rating

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