Hellina is one of several Bad Girl comics recently relaunched by Boundless Comics an imprint of Avatar Press. Whilst Avatar might now have carved out a niche with various creator owned titles they originally started out in the 90’s mainly publishing Bad Girl comics, Hellina being one of them.
Relaunched via a successful Kickstarter Hellina is back with Jai Nitz writing and Gabriel Andrade on art, with colours by Digikore and Jaymes Reed on letters.
Hellina is Hell’s Adjudicator, sent in to clean up when supernatural entities and creatures of the night get out of line. Heaven and Hell waged a war that lasted for millenia, with the bloody battle spilling out into various worlds and dimensions. Then Hell won. Now 500 years later Heaven’s angelic horde is making an appearance and is more than willing to fight dirty to change the status quo.
Whilst Bad Girl comics in themselves are a distinctly niche market, one that might even seem a little anachronistic, they aren’t without their fans. That being said the only thing Hellina really has going for it is Gabriel Andrade’s art because the writing makes this come across like an unintentional satire of Bad Girl comics, as though it’s just ticking boxes rather than telling a story with a narrative – gory violence, check, unnecessary sex, check.
Nitz establishes little in the way of a world for anything that actually happens here. The back story about the war between Heaven and Hell above is taken from the Kickstarter campaign description, rather than the comic itself. A protracted fight sequence between Hellina and a horde of vampires, werewolves and other creatures which are fighting each other makes up the bulk of the story here.
The fight then comes to a rather abrupt end after the leader of the vampires, Simon, says “I’ve lived over 500 years I’d rather go out fucking than fighting at this point”, cue apparently obligatory sex. There’s no indication as to why Hellina would accept this offer unless it’s her usual tactic for defusing battles? Why this stops the werewolves and vampires fighting isn’t really explained either.
If Simon was some former paramour that Hellina actually knew from some time in her past then at least this would make sense rather than some random vampire guy. If Hellina is a highly sexed nymphomaniac who lives for bloodshed and fucking why do they then go to some appartment somewhere, leaving all the various creatures behind, instead of just having animalistic sex on the battlefield?
There’s nothing wrong with sex in comics if it’s done well and actually works in the narrative like in the excellent InSEXts from Aftershock Comics by Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina or the critically acclaimed Sunstone from Image Comics by Stjepan Sejic but here it just seems to be awkwardly shoehorned in. For a comic aimed at a niche market and deliberately sold as an adult oriented Bad Girl comic the sex in Hellina is no more explicit than in Avatar’s titles like Ferals, this isn’t The Young Witches by Ricardo Barreiro and Francisco Solano López .
Aside from Hellina herself Simon is the only other character who is actually named here, and he isn’t around for very long, so it’s hard to really get invested in anything that happens. Whilst Nitz’s writing might be lacking Andrade, an artist with plenty of experience at Avatar (working on Ferals and Uber amongst others), at least makes that that fight impressively kinetic and is quite experienced at depicting bloody carnage. One page impressively uses Hellina’s whip to break up the panels depicting the on-going fight. If Hellina has anything going for it, it’s definitely Gabriel Andrade’s interior art because he really is in his element here and some good (and rather bad) covers, it’s just a shame that the writing is so lacking. Maybe
The actual concept of Hellina – a trash talking whip wielding agent of Hell that happens to be a sexy badass woman – is pretty solid, only Nitz does very little with it here. Maybe expecting good writing in a Bad Girl comic is like expecting good acting in a porn film?