The Price is the Price

Nov 1, 2022

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Worthless. When making a deal, you never want to be the one on the short end of things. But what happens when you have no choice, when you’re facing the sale of the century; deal or no deal that deals with your destiny. What becomes worth less? Today’s pains or tomorrow’s payment. Find out that, and a look at the “wages” of sin, in Hell to Pay #1 from Image Comics.

Hell to Pay #1
The Shrouded College – Book 1

Image Comics

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Will Sliney
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Chris Crank

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it must also have golden bricks similar to Oz. Why does it seem there is always some eventual association with wealth and evil? It would seem that somewhere in their quest for conquest an offer comes along that is too good to pass up. At least that is how Ian MacCready has chosen to live his life. An individual who sees himself in the same league as Musk, MacCready has decided that if this world is not enough then why not have some of Hell as well.

Hell To Pay writer Charles Soule sends the story from a sexy dinner with MaCready and his “date” straight to the devil’s door. MaCready’s narration, with additional details with lettering from Chris Crank, change the climate of the underworld. Hell is just a business model; just not the model business. A transaction which occurs with a demon named Lord-Six-Percent-Year-Over-Year-Growth reveals the true nature of the dirty dealings. In exchange for our pains, there is a payment. A currency that manages to make it’s way into the hands of men throughout the ages, sometimes called Hellcoin or Black Gold though in it’s native tongue it is known as Quarrakh.

Hell to Pay #1 Int Img

The exceptional artwork in Hell to Pay extends beyond the original Mona Lisa in MaCready’s den, it’s such an amazing rendition that Rachelle Rosenburg needs to think about joining Danny Ocean’s crew. Will Sliney spares no expense in supplying specifics especially when detailing the devils domain. This presents a plainer picture of the pit; a world not far removed from ours in many ways. The demons and those they detain look more humanoid than they usually do which helps make their dealings more disturbing. Rachelle Rosenburg adds colors that make MaCready’s tale feel like a depiction from the pages of Dante’s Inferno.

Speaking of the Ocean’s 11 crew and theft – that is exactly what Macready’s date and her husband have in mind. The Mr and Mrs in this story aren’t the Smith’s the Stone’s are still as lethal. However, neither Maia or Sebastian are made out of their namesake. It is an accident – resulting in serious injuries for both – that sets them down the road to the Shrouded College. Image promises readers this isn’t the last time that name will come up in a series so it seems school is in session. For now we see the Stone’s who are responsible for tracking down the 666 Qurrakh that left Hell during an attempted uprising.

It’s already too much to accept the concept that it seems you’re working just to make a living. It’s something else to realize that there is truly no rest for the wicked – “In Hell…Souls are Slaves” according to MaCready. In Hell to Pay, readers learn that money makes the underworld go round; causing chaos in ours. Maia and Sebastian only want to get out of this hellish business clean. However, as the Stone’s story shows that nothing in life is free.

Score: 9.6

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