Review – A Walk Through Hell #5 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Goran Sudzuka
Colours: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: Rob Steen
Release Date: 3rd October 2018

After Shaw‘s revelation at the end of last issue, we start here, in this final issue of this arc, by focusing on a forgotten character. Agent Goss, Hunzikker‘s partner who we lose track of in the unfolding of the back story of Carnahan, is quite understandably freaking out as time passes in the labyrinthine warehouse. It’s an odd shift, but one which sets up a particularly gruesome ending to this series.

If I’m being completely honest though, this issue threw me a little and at first felt somewhat out of place with the preceding issues. As we learn more about Carnahan and the truth behind their demise, the pervasive gnawing sense of doom reaches ever greater heights. It’s no crescendo with a bang, but neither does it tail off with a whimper. Instead, this book leaves you with a queasy feeling and maybe a newfound, or reinforced, fear of the dark. It’s definitely not the ending I expected or necessarily wanted, but the overall effect lingers in the same pleasantly unsettling way A Walk Through Hell has treated us to so far. Rereading the series, the little hints and nods that didn’t quite fit at the time all begin to slot into place here in this finale, making for an ultimately rewarding experience.

Looking back to my thoughts on the first issue, I was positive this series would pan out into something worth getting on board early and I haven’t been disappointed. As discussed, this series hasn’t gone the route of relying on gore and jump scares as the story and time spent in the warehouse continues. Instead we have that more pervasive of horror, the all too real or grounded scenarios that hint at something far darker and more malign in the fringes, puppeteering and controlling. Obviously we can’t ignore the freakish and unexplainable events in the warehouse itself but these are almost secondary to the real horror that can exist next door; Agent Goss of course may well disagree by the end. Credit to the team here as this could easily have been overplayed but for me, the balance is just right.

Visually, this issue continues to deliver the same high standard as the preceding chapters, while allowing Sudzuka to crank up the weird dial that little bit more to bring some extra special visual disturbance to the table. The dark cyclopean corridors created in the warehouse, flitting from the onlooker to up close participant really builds tension and keeps the heart rate booming. There’s a real talent in providing just enough to let the reader’s mind fill in the blanks with their own sense of hellish despair.

In a year where the bar has been set incredibly high for horror comics, A Walk Through Hell is definitely a contender for my favourite so far. Combining the best of haunted house, supernatural and psychological horror, AWTH punches out with an ending that managed to catch me off guard. It’s a risky finale that, whilst delivering this same unrelenting vision of personal hell, leaves a dark despairing void as the scope of what we’ve witnessed and seen revealed slowly sinks in.

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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