Proudly entered “into our little family” by “Amigo Comics” in July 2016, this “hell of a book” undeniably contains an incredibly well thought out universe “created by the British team of Kevin Gunstone and Paul Moore” which seemingly mixes the very best elements of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem “Divine Comedy” with the paranoid prosecutions of the Salem witch trials. Indeed, up until her death by hanging, during which she curses the land “in the name of the succubus Nehema”, the persecution of poor old widow Barebones, which progresses throughout this twenty-two page periodical, appears to simply be the unjust maniacal imaginings of an overzealous magistrate rather than any actual practical demonstration of witchcraft.
Delightfully however, as this “bewitching” book’s audience immediately discerns, it is not just the Borough of Ipswich in Massachusetts, New England upon which the servants of Satan wantonly roam, but also the occult realm of the Qliphoth. Plagued by beaked bat-creatures and wookie-like horned beastmen, this shadow world “of sorcery and ill-intent” proves as fascinating a landscape as it is clearly deadly, and provides plenty of pulse-pounding action-packed exploits to beautifully counter the somewhat slower-paced court-room tensions of Amos Deathridge’s 17th Century investigation into a cattle plague; “For you and your kind, I offer only imprisonment or oblivion… There is no escape! Daemon, it is time we bartered words…”
In fact, one of the most harrowing scenes in this publication occurs upon one of the spheres “hidden from man’s perception” when the puritan discovers the corpse of his fellow adventurer Baron Aubert and utilises “the pure light of Adam’s Jewel” to command the cadaver to “tell me who is responsible for your ruin.” Dressed in the chainmail of a crusading knight, the image of the magistrate’s desperately struggling friend being stretched over Count Eligos’ sacrificial tree stump, held firmly in place by the blue-skinned demon’s red-robed acolytes so as to extend the fiend’s “influence on Earth and the Qliphoth”. is disturbingly penned by Gunstone and additionally provides an ample example of just how perilously quick one’s gruesome death can be within the jailer of evil spirits’ world.
Quite possibly this book’s only downside therefore is in some of Paul Moore’s pencilled panels, which occasionally appear a little too roughly-hewn for a professional publication. There should be no doubting the artist’s ability to imbue his figures with plenty of dynamism, as the gaoler of daemons’ closely fought battle with a pack of fur-covered fiends attests, but a fair few of the illustrator’s faces arguably appear to wear a disconcerting grimace which distractingly detracts from the overall storytelling.