Review by Amy Maynard
Hail is a superhero comic about Lena, a woman who crumbles into shards of glass whenever she experiences anxiety. After a violent confrontation with a serial killer, Lena begins to question her ability to fight crime on top of her basic daily responsibilities.
First things first – this review is long overdue. Months have passed since I’ve been given my review copies of this comic. Time has slipped away from me this year. As I have been taught by Spider-Man though (the comics which introduced me to the medium), even if you screw up, at some point you have to get up and try your best again.
Reading Hail, our hero, Lena, is molded from the same clay as Peter Parker. She’s unsure of her powers, regarding both their physical use and the psychological toll of vigilantism. She is beginning to seek out romantic relationships whilst also second-guessing the true nature of some of her friends. And our villain, The Shepherd, is still on the loose, and beginning to monitor their opponent.
The consistency between the early comics (reviewed here) and the later issues is impressive. The hazy pastel colours contrasted with deep blues, blacks, violets and browns creates an interesting palette. Lena’s glass form is as effective as ever, with the level of detail in the design being something quite spectacular. For comics creators wondering whether it’s worth it to send hard copy review issues – this is why you do it. There is so much to be enjoyed when reading a comic where the colours jump off the page and the inking and lettering can be studied in detail. Critics and panel judges take this stuff into consideration (or the good ones should).
Lam and Richardson also still have an excellent sense of pace; unlike many American superhero comics where the action and dialogue moves at breakneck speed at the expense of story, the creators take their time. There are small but significant pauses, and the action doesn’t get in the way of character development.
It’s difficult to gauge where Hail is going to go at this point. It could be a series which wraps up when Lena finally defeats The Shepherd, or Richardson and Lam might be plotting a longer series. Early indications of world-building are in the possibility of new superheroes, but I could be proved wrong. Either way, Richardson and Lam have hit a nice groove.
Hail retains its status as a superhero comic which delivers. Who knows where it’s going to go? For now, it’s a good journey to be on.
Hail can be read for free online at hailcomic.com.