As a series, Hell Arisen’s art style shares a lot of commonalities with Tynion’s Justice League Dark run, due to the sharing of artist Javier Fernandez on both projects. As an artist, Fernandez’s style fits perfectly for both series as one handles dark, supernatural elements, which also coincides with the somewhat grittier tone at times in this mini series.
Compared to Tynion’s Batman run that has more impact on colors with brighter hues used, colorist Nick Filardi’s colors in this series offer a toned down, more subdued palette, lending itself to a grittier looking tone from the shades used and the shading on the characters. That isn’t to say that the characters are 2D, as we have shading that makes them pop; but the art syle from Fernandez and Epting, combined with the choice of color palette, creates a grittier looking series that fits with the tone of a story depicting two apex villains, as they vie for supremacy.
Within the first issue, Tynion gave us a taste of Lex fighting The Infected, but this and the previous issue lent themselves better to the story telling aspects, because we got more impactful elements, leading to the surprise accomplice making an appearance in this issue.
During Batman’s fight with He Who Laughs during Snyder’s Metal run, we saw how important Joker was to the story as Joker helped Batman win. This time however, we see a Joker who briefly helps Lex, but not to an extent that he did for Batman before. What we’re seeing though is a common trend. DC’s lore is developing the necessity for a genius and Joker to team up as the only means of stopping He Who Laughs. This lore helps with the story that Tynion is telling, though Joker only helps Lex for one issue, including the threat to kill Mercy Graves.
Another aspect of this issue that was great was the brief introduction of Punchline, shortly after her tease in TynionIV’s recent issue of Batman. This gave a little more set-up for what we can expect from her, though the details were next to nothing, as to maintain suspense. The use of including her does impact the want for getting the next Batman issue to have more information about the new character.
While Lex lost his original team during Snyder’s run, TynionIV did deliver by giving more reason to having Lex support different villains throughout YOTV, because we got the return of those he’s helped by the end of this issue. After Cold’s escape from Arkham, we see him with Lex. We also got Manta from Aquaman, Lobo from Teen Titans, Oracle from Batgirl and Grundy from Justice League Dark. All of these characters were fitting due to what happened to some of the other villains in their storylines. Circe was trapped in a mirror, Cheetah was fighting Diana and in Promethea’s chair, and Bane’s in prison with Batman’s dad. That leaves these escaped villains and mercenaries to join Lex to pay him back for what he gave them.
As a storyteller, TynionIV’s team on this issue did a fantastic job depicting each scene: the letters for when a member of The Infected talks, the use of subdued colors for a somewhat grittier story, the vibrant palette when going in Joker’s mind, the callback to aided villains during the YOTV stories. All of these added up to something greater than each part. Each piece blended so well with each other and the finale will be just as strong.