Released: 2011, Oni Press
I used to buy and read comics a lot as a kid. Over time I stopped but I still buy Heavy Metal related comics which lead me to buy BLACK METAL back in 2007. I bought it, read it and enjoyed it. Its a two-part comic with a cliffhanger ending so I kept going back to the store and checking online to see when Part Two would be out. After about three years went by I just kinda forgot about it except when I would flip through it once or twice a year. Out of nowhere Part Two shows up almost four years later so I figured I'd review the pair now.
BLACK METAL is the most Metal comic ever! Forget Kiss Meets The Archie's, this is the real deal. Written by Rick Spears and inked by Chuck BB, this 172 page paperback is an odd size kinda like a Japanese Manga style book. It's black and white, which adds to its grimness and necroness as well. The art is really blocky, chunky and squared, not a ton of attention to fine detail, but the characters and writing make up for that.
Having defeated Baron Von Char, the Black Metal Twins Sam And Shawn Stronghand make their way across the plains of hell with various companions. Having won the battle with the mighty Sword of Atoll, they now control parts of the territory of hell and make their way to safety. However, one of the members of the party, actually a minion of Satan, starts to sow seeds of discontent among the two brothers. There is a larger subplot introduced about the looming apocalyptic battle between heaven and hell. I really liked the concept of Heaven having an ‘embassy’ in hell and new characters are introduced. The mythology of the story is all over the place, Christian and Norse intermingle as Odin, Satan, angels and demons intermingle in their various roles. The twins end up in Valhalla and finally a wedge is driven between them by the traitor. An epic battle between the twins for possession of the sword is waged that spans the cosmos. I won’t spoil the ending but as expected it is yet another cliffhanger and the story ends there with a promise of a part three.
I decided to write this review now, in 2012, in case it takes another four years to make Part 3! Overall, I enjoyed Part 1, just a little more, there were a bit more in-jokes and metallic references, and this book had our heroes slogging through hell battling demons and such, which is cool, but lacked the tongue-in-cheek delivery and musical references of the first issue. Still can’t wait for Part 3!