I am a self-confessed Metalhead. I often talk about how Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind was the first cassette I bought with my hard-given money when I was 12. I’ve often sought the aesthetic of metal in other media and comic books are a great place to find it. Now, something to keep in mind about this desire is that my specific taste in metal has evolved over the years. In many ways, I’ve left behind the absurdity and operatic-theatrics of hair metal bands like Iron Maiden. But when it comes to comic books, my enjoyment of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Book 1 – Helldiver is proof that my 12-year old self is not completely lost.
So what does 12-year old Dale like so much about this book? It’s starts with the crazy Christian-mythology-driven story of a modern day holy warrior that must make an ultimate sacrifice to rescue his wife in hell. But there’s also tons of creepy, vile and explicit gore. There are no holds barred here and Simon Bisley’s captures it all in wonderful, visceral exuberance. The me of today wishes that 12-year old Dale had seen books like these when he was around.
But I have to say, I would not be me, the mature me if I did not make some comment about the use of women in the The Four Horsemen. There is a good bit of written-into-the-story nudity with no full-frontals from any guys. Not that I want to see Bisley draw men’s junk but at the same time, there is some lack of equality here. But again, this book does make up – to some degree – by making one of the characters a token, extreme female. And there is some smarts at work here – the book is reaching its targeted audience – 12-year old boys and older men that let their 12-year old selves out every so often. But maybe that’s the problem, maybe we should be expecting more of the entertainment we give our 12-year olds and expecting more from the supervision we give these 12-year olds. But at the same time, I’m enjoying the title so the answer seems to be a little difficult.