Writer: Ben Kahn
Art: Bruno Hidalgo
Publisher: Scout Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Heavenly Blues is a stylish, polished tale of a heavenly heist from a creative team with vision and talent that far surpasses what we often see in indie comics.
It's like a classic heist style film, like The Sting or Oceans 11, but within the realm of the afterlife.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A couple of Hell's denizens get contracted to steal a mysterious object from Heaven. The two friends (or whatever you'd call the equivalent of friendship in Hell) hire other dead thieves to help them pull the ultimate heist.
While anyone who's seen a good heist story can guess that the way won't be easy for this team, the greatest barriers to pulling the whole thing off might be themselves. Because as you may guess by any soul condemned to Hell, these folks may have some demons of their own.
One thing I loved about the pacing of this story is that each issue covers a stage of the traditional heist process, with backstory exposition as the B-plot throughout:
Issue 1: The Players -- Setting the Scene
Issue 2: Getting the Band Together -- Team-Building
Issue 3: Flashbacks & Setbacks -- Nothing Worth Doing is Ever Easy
Issue 4: Pros & Cons -- The Final Heist Preparations
Issue 5: Trouble in Paradise -- Can They Really Pull This Off? And Is It Worth It?
Issue 6: The Heist -- Getting the Hell Outta Heaven
(That really belongs in the below section about what works, but it's a little lengthy, so I wanted to cover it up here.)
I loved the art -- it was thoughtful, cinematic, jagged and emotional (see an example below)
The pacing, especially for a heist story, was perfect and well balanced, like you'd expect from the genre
The heist itself isn't over too quickly, which can be in issue in these types of stories
Kahn's characterization is fantastic, representing unique, instantly likeable characters across history with different backgrounds, voices, sexual identities, ages and races
The world-building is rich and vibrant, and I hope we can revisit and explore it more in the future
The story's ending feels good and earned, and I will definitely miss these characters
You get the first issue free (as of Oct. 2018) from the Scout Comics Site
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Because the pacing is so quick and so much of the fat has been trimmed from the story, we don't get as much resolution with the characters and what haunts them as we may want
I'd also have loved to see more of Heaven and Hell -- the parts we do get to see are really interesting
Cursing and crude language are a thing (I mean, a lot of the story does take place in Hell), so consider that before giving it to your kids to read, if that bothers you
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you like the crime and heist genres and are also a fan of Heaven and Hell as concepts, this is the perfect book for you. It's incredibly well-crafted and enjoyable as hell.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Once Upon A Time Machine, Vol. 2 by various creators
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, Vol. 1 by Matthew Rosenberg & Tyler Boss
Hellblazer, Vol. 1 by Delano, Veitch, Ridgway, Alcala & Mandrake
If you like the art:
Shaman, Vol. 1 by Ben Kahn & Bruno Hidalgo
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1 by Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá
Black Hammer, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire & Dean Ormston
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Ben Kahn – Writer & Letters for Issues #2-6
Has also written for video games and webcomics
Dream Team: Also worked with Bruno Hidalgo on the comic, Shaman
Seems to enjoy the balance between humor and heartbreak
Bruno Hidalgo – Art & Colors
Outlander: Hails from Barcelona, Spain
As of July 2017, he had never met Ben Kahn (not sure if they've met since then!)
Kat Krow – Letters for Issue #1
I couldn't find any information on this person -- if you have any details, let me know!
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Although I cover all 6 individual issues here, the trade paperback doesn't come out until December (of 2018, in case you're from the future). Until then, you can get the individual issues here.
Click one of these:
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Scout Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Image Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED