As you’d expect from a character with the title of Queen of Hell, John Allison’s new book Mordawwa #666 is quite a departure from the student world of Giant Days or the high school sleuthing of Bad Machinery. However, fear not! it isn’t the start of a descent into maudlin goth-ness for Allison, as his distinctive sense of humour and great eye for character still shines through the fires of hell to give his fans something new but wonderfully devilish at the same time.
Publisher: Scarygoround Comics
Writer: John Allison
Artist: John Allison
Our rating: [star rating=”4.5″]
Fresh from his Eisner nominations for Giant Days, John Allison has descended to the depths of hell for his fiendish new book Mordawwa #666. We first meet Mordawwa as she is preparing her gang of lackeys for the presentation of a medal to the guardian of hell – the sherriff, an all-powerful black dragon like creature who Mordawwa is rather in awe of. But when he doesn’t show up and the river Styx is blocked, it turns out the two things are connected and Mordawwa has to reluctantly work out what’s happened – or rather her minions have to, when she goes off in a sulk!
And that’s where Mordawwa is unlike your traditional underworld creation. Despite sounding like it should be another Sandman wannabe, Mordawwa has the brattish tone of a spoilt teen, which means plenty of zingy one-liners when she’s happy but super-strops when she’s not! The way she interacts with her lackeys is what drives the story, rather than some meaningful event, and it makes the book so much more readable and entertaining as a result.
As with Giant Days and Bad Machinery, Allison’s world is not just about one strong lead it’s about a fanastic ensemble, with the supporting characters getting in as many cheeky asides or sarcy comments as the star. In Mordawwa this means we get to meet fantastic supporting characters like Archduke Horns (an all powerful demon who is not a fan of the nickname Mordawwa instead of his real name which consists of 14 Vs) or her spirit guide horse, who is the reincarnation of her true love (but she can’t understand him as he can’t talk!)
Allison is also using this new setting as the chance to flex his artistic muscles, with the Kirby-esque Vengeful Green Planetoid (complete with cosmic krackle) and the Metatronic Messenger being particular highlights that make the book feel completely different to the more realistic world of his other books and show another side to Allison’s always excellent artwork.
The only downside to this otherwise fantastic debut issue, is that Mordawwa has a very frustrating ending which almost feels like it is missing a page or two as it resolves itself out of nowhere, which is a real shame.Fortunately, the preceding pages are so much fun you can forgive this slight oversight as Mordawwa #666 is a devilishly delightful read, and the queen of hell is another must-read character that Allison’s growing legion of fans will be clamouring to hear more from very soon!