Comics Graphic Novels & Comics Reviews

Her Infernal Descent: A Staggering, Beautiful Embodiment of Grief

Her Infernal Descent follows the path of Dante’s Inferno in a staggering and emotionally raw way, creating a new layer to an age-old story that lives up to its predecessor. We see a mother whose family is long gone, who blames herself for their deaths and who hasn’t been living ever since. She’s lost within herself and this chance to see them renews her. Her journey is heroic, heartbreaking, frustrating and, ultimately, inspiring. The story moved me deeply, giving me insight into the grief one feels at the loss of a loved one and the impossibility of dealing with that grief. 

The creation of Hell itself was epically, epically brilliant. This was like the comic book version of The Player, chock full of every literary celebrity cameo you could imagine. It was exciting to identify them, reminiscent of a twisted version of Where’s Waldo. You’ll find dozens of cameos, from Ovid to Aristotle to Kafka to Hunter S. Thompson. The celebrity list grows and grows as our protagonist gains access to new levels of Hell. The choice to include William Blake and Agatha Christie as guides was ingenious. Blake provides constant poetics, bordering between frustrating and whimsical. Christie provides the voice of reason, acting as the benevolent protector. They make quite the group trudging through the rings of Hell. 

I can’t say enough about the art style. Depicting Hell requires a level of grotesque that doesn’t stray too far into the indigestible realm, and they nailed it. The artists depicted everything with a pristine level of detail, etching sin and horror into the frames. The variation of panels provided a welcome scenery change and their embodiment of the cast of celebrities was spot on. Save one or two, I knew immediately who was standing before the protagonist, waiting to become a part of her story. 

In the end, Her Infernal Descent is that rare piece of art that emulates its inspiration. It’s an artistic journey that embodies the grieving process, ultimately showing us that acceptance and forgiveness are the keys to rejoining the living. 

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Her Infernal Descent: Volume 1

Written by Zac Thompson,
Lonnie Nadler
Art by Kyle Charles,
Dee Cunniffe
Aftershock Comics

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