Hope One-Shot from Renegade Arts Puts Comic Fans in Constant State of Unease & Wonder (Review)

by | Mar 9, 2018

HOPE comic review

From Shame creators Lovern Kindzierski and John Bolton, the upcoming story, Hope, picks up after the devastating confrontation between Virtue and Shame’s forces, as the survivors on both sides seek to take control of the situation. Available March 21, 2018 via Renegade Arts Entertainment – here is my review:

hope comic cover

Writer Lovern Kindzierski and artist John Bolton return to the world of Shame. This new story picks up where Shame left off, and makes a perfect jumping on point for new readers. Lovern sets the story up perfectly for fans and new readers alike. Shame is dead, her demon father blasted back to hell. Hope, newly born into the body of a young woman, stumbles from the battle-scarred castle still filled with Shame’s malevolent servants. The evil queen may have been defeated, but her dark forces are determined to stamp out Hope’s return to the world. This one shot story continues the acclaimed Shame series, following the ultimate story of mother-daughter conflict.

hope shadow demons

I think I called the original SHAME trilogy, Sleeping Beauty by way of Antichrist director Lars Von Trier. The surreal and gorgeous art from the dark master John Bolton, looks like it belongs in some European Gothic gallery – not a comic book. You will not see anything else like SHAME or its sequel HOPE in your local comic shops or book stores. Lovern Kindzierski’s twisted tale takes place directly after the chaotic conclusion which saw the defeat of the evil queen in our last tale and follows the rise of a new darkness that threatens the entire world unless Hope, Merritt the warrior and Grace the old witch are able to stop it.

hope comic art

The one-shot is about 60 pages long so there’s a lot of story to digest here if you’re able to stop for a minute and take in what the actual Hell is going on without getting lost in Bolton’s haunting imagery. Hope spends a lot of time incapacitated after battling the shadow demons at the start of the chapter so we get some much-needed catch-up with Merritt the bodyguard and even delve into his childhood. I love Merritt – he’s easily my favourite character in the series and his tragic backstory only cemented that choice. Merritt has an amazing line where he thanks Grace for calling him “Special” in the way his mother used to and not like the others do. I love Merritt and I think he steals the chapter with some great action sequences and the inclusion of his origin story.

hope merritt

There’s a great mix of the brutal aftermath from the castle assault from the last chapter, along with some more backstory revelations, including Grace, where we find out how she was disfigured and more. Kindzierski managed to pack in a lot of wonderful story into 60 pages and set up what feels like a worthy successor to his masterful SHAME trilogy. I’m excited to see where this tale goes and I’m always curious to see what kind of new nightmares John Bolton will conjure up in what I can only think must be some alchemy workshop in the attic of an abandoned church outside some village where the people are too afraid to speak of its name outloud. HOPE is brilliant and twisted but it is certainly not for the every-day comic book crowd who are only satisfied with superheroes punching each other in the face for 3000 issues straight. HOPE is a surreal fantasy that utilises the pages of a comic to transport you into a different world where you will be at a constant state of unease and wonder.

Rating: [star rating=”4.5″]