So Lobo has decided to kill Satan and really, are we that surprised?
If there were ever a grudge match that seemed fitting it would be between the fallen angel and the self-appointed “Main Man”. Tasked with bringing this throwdown to life is artist Sam Kieth and newcomer to comic book writing Scott Ian aka metal legend and Anthrax guitarist. The veteran artist and musician combine forces on “Highway To Hell” a violent and gruesome two part series that has Lobo taking on the Prince Of Darkness in order to avenge the death of a friend.
The story opens with Lobo nursing a hangover only to be disturbed by the bodies of several Dolphins smashing through his window. Enraged when he discovers the attack was perpetrated by Satan Lobo decides to ride into Hell and kick some demonic ass. From there Lobo does battle with demons, a cruise ship on the River Styx, a dead bee and a literal Hell Hole bar. Scott Ian has taken an interesting angle with Highway To Hell by combining humor and violence to tell his tale. Taking a cue from the adult comics of magazines like Heavy Metal and the absurdist humor of Mad Magazine Ian creates his own bizarre version of Hell for Lobo to walk through.
The Anthrax axe man’s writing style is much like his guitar playing in that it’s fast paced and incredibly frenetic. Lobo is constantly moving, constantly battling and constantly talking. The book opens with Lobo saying his head feels like “Motorhead is raping it” and that pretty much sets the tone of the entire story. The fast pacing of the script works both for and against the overall vibe of the book. When it works Highway To Hell is incredibly clever and laugh out loud funny, when it doesn’t it feels like Ian is trying too hard to impress the reader. It’s obvious here that Ian is a huge comic book fan and is in Heaven writing this story. When he let’s that get away from him the book suffers but those instances are few and far between.
Art wise Highway To Hell is a glorious thing to behold. Few artists can show a talent for both humor and violence but Sam Keith nails it across the board. Every panel is its own masterpiece that pops right off the page. Keith has created a really haggard and harsh looking Lobo and placed him within the walls of a Hell that either looks evil or hysterically insane. It’s as if Keith is allowing us to see Hell through Lobo’s minds eye. Keith stays right in line with the book’s frenetic pace adding details to the panels that you don’t catch during the initial read. He also has some really striking splash pages featuring Lobo battling all demonic comers who dare to try and step up.
I’m not above admitting I can be a petty bastard who loves to tear apart guest writers or artists because they get to draw a DC Comic and I don’t. With Highway To Hell I was forced to curb my tongue because of the quality of the book and Scott Ian’s obvious dedication to comic books. In short he knows his shit and this title proves it. I don’t even like Lobo and I found myself really looking forward to reading issue two. If Anthrax ever hangs up their metal crown Scott Ian definitely has a future in the world of comic books.