Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Skottie Young
Artwork: Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Release Date: 18th November, 2015
With a sensational debut issue IHF has become an instant favourite, so following up such a successful introduction is always a tricky manoeuvre. The cliffhanger from the first issue left us expecting a bloody battle of epic and gross proportions between Gertrude and Bruud The Brutal, which is exactly… what we don’t get. Instead we get an intro from another fairyland character and meet Gertrude, pissed out her mother fluffing brains, talking to the severed head of Bruud. It’s a surprising start, and you might feel it’s a bit of a swindle if it wasn’t for the manner the introduction was handled – which is ingenious, and, I hope, will become a recurring theme.
With Bruud out of the way the Queen Cloudia has to turn to a more desperate option. It seems that hired Mercs are no match for Gertrude, so it’s time to call in the big guns – the Witch Horribella, and her solution for the Gertrude problem is an interesting spin on a well-established fairy tale.
IHF2 carries on without regard, it’s an unrelenting Behemoth of a story with such momentum that it doesn’t just break conventional fairy tale wisdom; it smashes it utterly and grinds in into any other genre that Scottie’s delicious imagination can dream up next. There seems to be no rules to this land, and Gertrude herself is a personified agent of Chaos. Indeed, so much so that the actual quest she is on – to find the key to the door that will send her home – almost plays second fiddle to her unrequited slaughter and consistent drinking. I have a small worry – very small – that this could be the undoing of IHF, that the fighting and drug taking becomes the story, and by doing so it normalises what currently makes this comic so great.
I hope that is not the case as there is so much good stuff in here. The dynamic between Gertrude and Larry is hilarious and little elements like the appearance of Mr Moon in the sky, covered in plasters and bruising, only crescent shaped -because he is not fully healed- smiling crazily as a mob of undead Fauna charge down Gertrude is a fantastic little detail that cements just how brilliant IHF is.
Scottie’s art and the colour work by Jean-Francois Beaulieu are a bit of a match made in heaven here, and half of the actual humour in the story is communicated through the art. One of the things that is so good about the art of IHF are the details, I’ve already mentioned Mr Moon, but there are examples everywhere: the Care Bear bartender, the troll under the bridge to the Witches house, the jet propulsion system on the Witches broom and the rainbow walkways of the cloud kingdom. Half the fun of IHF is appreciating the panels as much as the story.
IHF number 2 is offensive and hilarious in all the right places, carrying on without shame from its debut. The humour, art and story are raucous entertainment, but there is a little loss of progression in this edition, not that much actually happens when you look at it which is why I’m not giving this issue full marks. Still, it’s funny as fudge.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.