REVIEW: ‘Madam Satan,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Madam Satan #1
Madam Satan #1 is published by Archie Comics, written by Eliot Rahal, art by Julius Ohta, colors by Matt Herms, and letters by Jack Morelli. Having captured Lucifer and stolen his throne, Iola now reigns in Hell. But is this what she really wants? Are power and dominance worth the endless toil of ruling a realm? Or is there some task that might suit her better?

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. This old adage provides a constant warning to those who think power equals freedom. Those that pursue it like a luxury do not realize that once acquiring that which they crave, they have only added another burden to their lives instead of releasing themselves from the ones they already have.

Madam Satan #1 sees its starring character struggle with just such a realization. Iola discovers that the freedom of power quickly drowns under the weight of authority. Rahal does an excellent job capturing Iola’s struggles as she attempts to acclimate to her new station.

While her growing boredom is ever-present in Madam Satan #1,  it is matched by her overwhelming power within the story. She is never one iota less than confident in her might, and the story does a great job of highlighting why this is. Just as successful as her boredom comes through, her power shines brightly. She is a duly intimidating presence as one would expect of someone who would sit on the throne of Hell.

Just as Madam Satan #1’s story delivers an interesting and deep character-driven narrative, the artwork here delivers visuals that capture both its setting as well as the mood of its main character. Ohta bathes the panels of this book in all the classic gothic style looks the setting calls for. With large upward jutting rock formations framing scenes filled with humanoid beasts, the court of Hell delivers exactly what one would expect.

Although much of the strength of Ohta’s art comes from him drawing upon classic visual depictions of the story’s setting, the design of Iola herself is without a doubt the visual show-stealer in Madam Satan #1, just as it should be. Her face is constantly wreathed in a flame that forms a high collar protruding from her dress. This keeps the fire ever-present, even in close up shots, never letting the reader forget this is no mere human they are observing. And when Iola truly lets her power loose, she transforms into a more terrifying visage altogether, skillfully delivering a fearsome effect.

Just as the design is often striking, so too is the colorwork here. Colorist Herms uses the presence of fire to break up the darker tones that dominate much of the story. Iola’s flames always make the character the center of any panel she is in. As her mood descends into melancholy, the color palette shifts into cool blues, further enhancing the emotions of the story.

Lastly, Madam Satan #1 is further added in its delivery from the skilled lettering of Morelli, granting various characters some visual twists to their dialogue and further enhancing their unique natures.

When all is said and done, Madam Satan #1 delivers a strong, character-driven story that I found both more interesting and visually catching than I expected. As a character-focused one shot, this book does a great job of telling a contained story that is both meaningful for its lead as well as entering for the reader.

Madam Satan #1 is available on October 21st wherever comics are sold.


Madam Satan #1
4.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Madam Satan #1 delivers a strong, character-driven story that I found both more interesting and visually catching than I expected. As a character-focused one shot, this book does a great job of telling a contained story that is both meaningful for its lead as well as entering for the reader.