There is absolutely nothing on the stands like "Hexed." Sure the plot is a little timeworn, wherein the main character is being coerced to perform deeds for a no-good vile foe, much like Oliver Twist and his relationship with Fagin. Missing, however, are the other waifs and the underlying sense of honor. Our protagonist -- Luci Jenifer Inacio Das Neves, or Lucifer for short -- is a thief, a cat-burglar really, with a penchant for mystic artifacts.
This story stretches back to the colonial days of America, and the nastiness of the artifacts Lucifer chases is put on full display right away on page one. Violent, bloody, and gory, this book wastes no time weeding out the faint of heart. Rios' art is haunting in its simplicity and detailed when it needs to be. The environs pictured here are eerie, foreboding, and unsettling. When Lucifer is "swimming" there is no point of reference, no bearing for the reader to latch on to. Rios renders a familiar, yet fresh, creature from the depths in the form of Quandrin, and Lucifer throws down the foreshadowing gauntlet to set up future drama.
Rios has some inconsistent patches where some panels seem to be underdeveloped, but I have a feeling part of this is just an overall learning process. Rios has great storytelling chops and a solid concept of the figure (even the supernaturally horrific ones).
Nelson has crafted a tale that reads quickly and demands a second reading for deeper subtext, fleeting details, and other seeming minutiae. Lucifer is a likable enough character, even though her surroundings and career choice make her as taboo as her namesake. While the plot is one we've all experienced before in its barest outline, Nelson puts enough sinew, muscle, and flesh on his skeletal story to make it seem fresh.
While this is the second issue of this story and two more remain, I feel as though this is not the second of four issues, but rather the second of many, many issues to come. This is one of those books that's going to sneak in under the radar, especially since Boom! will be gaining a great deal more notice in the months coming as we head towards their Pixar comics releases. If you missed out on the first issue, the story is fresh enough to fill in the missing info. Jump on in with "Hexed" #2. The water's fine. Besides, is there any other title released this week where someone bites off another person's nose?