Giffen promised to deliver a new master and a new conceptualization to Hell within the DC Universe through his work on this book. “Reign in Hell” #8 does just that. The Triumvirate that was elevated after Lucifer left Hell in the pages of “Sandman” crumbled away during the “Inferno” and “Day of Judgment” events and fell into a sloppy mess, depending on who was writing.
Giffen took it upon himself to sort through the wreckage that resulted from the “Day of Vengeance” mini tied into “Infinite Crisis.” That’s one hell of an assignment. I will say this, however, Giffen established a true ruler in Hell and midway through this issue, I wasn’t sure who it was going to be, but by the end, there is no question who rules Hell.
Speaking of Hell, Derenick and Sienkiewicz’s art, while not hellacious, certainly sparked an uneasiness for me visually, as their styles are wildly divergent. The end result is a feel not unlike Walt Simonson completely jacked up on caffeine. This style is perfect for a book set in such an unsettling climate as Hell.
All in all, this book helped streamline some of the players in the magical corners of the DCU while returning Lobo to the peak of bad-assedness. Astonishingly, I did little more than flip through half of the preceding issues, but I found myself able to comprehend the action, the players, and the end results with little head-scratching. While it may not be the prettiest book of the year, this book was important to the consistency of the DC Universe. It cleaned off the toys in the magic sandbox, sanitized them and put them back, ready for the next forager. I only hope that next storyteller adheres to some of the points set forth here and leaves his or her own agenda at home. Giffen’s effort should be followed, not ignored.