In December of last year, writer Michael Alan Nelson and artists Dan Mora and Gabriel Cassata kicked off the second arc of their smash-hit series Hexed with a new arc that develops on everything we were introduced to in the first half, such as the complicated relationships between the three main characters, and the mysteries that surround all of them. Deservedly, the fifth issue of the series was an all-star issue that hit the perfect note for me at the end of the year, and I expected the next few issues to be more of the same.
And I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Issue #6 from last month builds on the concept of Lucifer being the Harlot’s heir, and Lady Cymbaline trying to use that to get a hold on her since she has a bitter enmity with the Harlot. Issue #7 then, in turn, builds upon some of the secrets that Val has kept from Lucifer to date, and it all becomes kind of a really interesting mess by the end. Great story, amazingly great art, that’s what you can expect from this seasoned team, and you will definitely not be left wanting.
Building on the concepts introduced in the first five issues, these two recent issues then add in a complicated layer of world-building which proves the inherent complexity of the the whole thing. This works on almost all levels because the status quo for the main characters has changed irreversibly of late, and therefore there are many more things going on at the same than before. For instance, someone hired some art thieves of the magical variety, like Lucifer, to steal an item that Val sent Lucifer and Raina to retrieve. As we saw in Hexed #5, this all went seriously awry, and now the two heroines are on the run, trying to keep the item away from the other thieves.
And at the same time, we have Lady Cymbaline delivering another ultimatum to Lucifer, something that ties into her seriously messy relationship with the Harlot, who kinda-sorta seems to have partnered up with Val to keep Lucifer safe from lady Cymbaline. So yes, there are a lot of complexities going on, and these complexities interest me a fair bit.
I’ve loved Lucifer, Val and Raina since they were introduced back in Hexed #1 last year, and even Lady Cymbaline has proven to be an amazing villain, someone you can root for as much as you root for the heroes. And the world that Michael and Dan have created, well that too is on a level of its own. In these two issues, we see many different small arcs come together for a bigger whole that impacts the status quo for the characters yet again. There’s a bit too much flip-flopping going on for my tastes, but I also don’t mind it so much really.
Because the main thing is that the writing really keeps me immersed into each comic. Michael does a great job of building up his characters and then putting them in some really tough spots to show how they’d react to different situations, especially when such situations seem to be going against them. And if I haven’t said this before, then I’ll say it now: whether we talk of Val or Lucifer or Raina or Lady Cymbaline, Hexed has some really great characters in it, and together they make each issue well worth the admission.
And to go along with that, I’ll say that these two issues have some of the best characterization of all four of them, creating a really intricate web of dependencies between all of them, something that really captures the imagination and forces you to take notice.
Dan is the internal and cover artist for both issues, with Gabriel Cassata on colours and Ed Dukeshire on the letters. Aside from an odd panel here or there, the artwork really stands out in both issues, especially when we get to all the magical action scenes, or even just any scene with Lady Cymbaline in it since she totally steals the screen space when she walks in. Gotta love a villain like that. Not that the heroes are slouches in any way, because they aren’t, and all three of Val, Lucifer and Raina kick a lot of ass when it comes down to it.
Another series that has begun the new year on a successful note.