Penny for Your Soul
by Tom Hutchison
Illustrated by J. B. Neto
1 Out of 5 Stars
Penny for Your Soul is a trade from independent comic publisher Big Dog Ink and it is apparently their cornerstone title. The premise sounds intriguing: Danica, a demon who can trace her lineage back to old Lucifer himself, has established The Eternity casino in Las Vegas. In a more modern and lucrative take on the Charlie Daniels classic line of "I bet a fiddle of gold against your soul," Danica instead offers her patrons $10,000 to spend or gamble during their stay in the casino--the only catch is that you have to sign over your soul. Thinking this to be little more than a marketing scheme, people, of course, are more than willing to sign over this intangible commodity. Danica runs the establishment with Mary Magdalene, who had been sitting idly in purgatory, pining for Jesus (who apparently split and ran after their very mortal relationship), until Danica intervenes and offers Mary a position in the casino. The story hinges around heaven and hell realizing that Danica's earthly business is siphoning souls away from their intended eternal destination. What happens next? You guessed it--all hell breaks loose and the End Days begin.
I expected a lot from this story, none of which I got. I expected something more along the lines of Hellboy or the John Constantine narrative, or perhaps Glen Duncan's novel I, Lucifer. Instead, all I got was a lot of scantily clad, impressively stacked T & bootylicious A. This story is presented with all the sophistication of a 13 year old boy who has just discovered his mom's Victoria's Secret catalog and didn't know girls could kiss each other until some late night Cinemax education. Danica and Mary Magdalene have some sort of weird sexual relationship going on with each other and with other women. For example, Mary smacks a subordinate female casino employee on the ass and says, "C'mon, you know you liked it." In another scene, Danica talks about how she should have been looking at the cross around Mary's neck instead of at her impressive cleavage during an exorcism. C'mon, fellas, you've all been there right? There you are, trying to force a minion of Satan out of your friend's body lest she forfeit her eternal soul, but, damn!, that exorcist has a spectacular rack! And before anyone chastises me for being homophobic, it's not the homosexual aspect that bothers me--it's the manner in which it's presented. It is so obviously what some ultra-hetero, beer guzzling, Spike TV watching man who thinks two women making out is just about the hottest thing in the whole damn world would write. Another example? A demon rips off an angel's wing and threatens to rip off the other if the two female angels nearby don't start making out while he watches. "Hey, Beelzebub, you've just successfully returned to earth and brought your legions of the damned with you. What will you do now?" "I'm going to use my evil powers to force hot chicks to make out and then I'm going to Hooters! I hear their chicken wings are crazy tasty!"
Others may make the argument that, hey, these are demons we're talking about here. Of course they're going to have less than refined taste when it comes to their sexual escapades. Yeah, but that seems to be all they care about. Their sins are fairly lightweight--all of the other sins don't really get much play. It's all gambling and sex. When War is unleashed upon the earth, riding a red Ducati (I admittedly thought that was a bit of brilliance), he and Mary Magdalene are playing strip poker while war rages around them. Literally, strip poker. Just for the fun of it. It's not like the fate of the world hangs in the balance based upon the outcome of this game; they just want to see each other's bits and pieces, I guess. So, basically, the moral of the story seems to be don't worry about the Apocalypse, folks. It's going to be like one prolonged soft porn flick!
The art and coloring are admittedly beautiful (though conventional), although all of the women are trying to out buxom one another with their gravity defying double Ds (if you enjoy a good buxom-off, this shouldn't bother you). However, the lettering contained SEVERAL grammatical errors, including repeated crimes against the "to/too" rule and using the word "eluded" instead of "alluded." I can forgive one or two grammar errors, especially in an indie, but this thing is full of them.
In another review I stated that everything is better with a dragon. Boy, could this storyline have used a passel of dragons. Granted, they probably would have just had them humping through Armageddon. On second thought, no dragons for you,Penny for Your Soul!