Road Trip to Hell #1 & #2, written by Nicole D’Andria, lettered by Justin Birch, pencilled and inked by Marc Maccagni, with colors from Joaquin Pereyra and title design by Brant Fowler, is a supernatural adventure series following Francis Rhoades, the son of Satan, who’s just inherited the Throne of Hell.
Plagued with nightmares, after visiting his sick sister Star and getting fired from his terrible psychic job at the boardwalk, Francis comes home to Baphomet, a demon of hell and the Executor of Satan’s will. Francis is the son of Satan and he is shocked to learn of his heritage.
He gets attacked by a denizen of Hell, but is promptly saved by the angel Joan of Arc, sent by God. Joan’s mission is to make sure that Francis gets to Hell and becomes its rightful ruler. But then, hospital Star’s staying at is taken over by terrorists, so Francis and Joan head out to save her. Enter Hell-Nazis. Because when you need bad guys, you can always put Nazis in that spot.
These two issues are fast-paced, not lagging anywhere. D’Andria lays out the main conflict (Francis needs to step foot in Hell to become the new King) and presents this main character in a sympathetic way that you can’t help but root for him. There’s not too much narration clogging up the pages and the dialogue is good.
The supernatural aspects of the story are really interesting. I like the Francis’ powers, as it’s not a cliche power-set.
The team’s art is really great. The characters are expressive and not too cartoony. Pereyra’s colors are appropriate in spots where it should be bright and where it should be darker. Birch’s lettering is awesome, easy to read.
Francis is a likeable everyman. Though he’s got mysterious powers, he has a good relationship with his adoptive sister, and is appropriately shocked that he’s the next King of Hell. Francis’ sister Star is also an enjoyable character. Despite being sick, she’s not overtly depressed or bitter. She’s also one tough character, even when she’s sick and kidnapped. Bonus points for her stabbing a certain Nazi doctor’s eye out. I like good sibling relationships and there needs to be more of them like this in comics.
The supporting characters fill out the story. Joan of Arc is a typical angel archetype. Serious and loyal to God’s law, Joan goes along with Francis to ensure that he becomes the King of Hell, which would benefit Heaven. Baphomet is a demon and he’s very tongue-in-cheek.
The downside to the whole thing is the generic use of Nazis as the bad guys, but you understand why by the end of Issue #2. I just hope there will be other villains of history than just the Nazis. In addition, I’d to see Francis go through a solid character arc throughout the issues as he tries to survive and become the King of Hell.
Or he may not become the King of Hell, who knows? In either case, Road Trip to Hell #1 and #2 are enjoyable to read, and fun time!