Alexander Irvine & Russ Braun
This is how more horror comics should be. Marvel's Max imprint allows for truly gruesome, unsettling imagery and unabashed violence, which is perfect for some titles to thrive under. It's not for every title, of course, but if you're going to write a Hellstorm mini-series, you shouldn't have to hold back on the gore and brutality. It should be genuinely frightening.
That being said, the first issue of this mini wasn't exactly frightening. It was gory and violent, and a bit disturbing, but it felt more like an R-rated superhero book, or a Sandman adventure (or more specifically, an adventure from Lucifer, the spin-off book from Sandman). Not that it wasn't good, because it was a pretty good read. It just didn't drive the scares.
The opening scene is a great demonstration for why this is a Max title: demons chase a man through dark alleys until they overtake him, whereupon they tear him apart, bloody limb from bloody limb, one demon placing the severed head on top of its horn like an ornament while the other demons feast to their heart's content on arms and legs while the man's torso is torn into halves. And that's just the first two pages.
This book has been set up very nicely by Irvine, involving an interesting backstory with a reincarnated Egytian god and a mystery that Damion Hellstorm tries to unravel, about why his father is so interested in this particular event and just what he has planned.
I haven't read any Hellstorm stories before this mini-series, so I can't say whether fans of the character will be happy with this Max event or not, but I for one found the series to kick off rather nicely. B+