Broken Souls Ballad: Hell is for Kids (#1 – 4) – Massimo Rosi and Ludovica Ceregatti

2 out of 5

While I’d say this is a better miniseries than the previous one, considering how reliant it is on that for context, it’s hard to wholly consider it on its own. In fact, doing so kind of frustrates me more, because I can see myself being misled, had I read this first, into assuming the first mini would’ve provided much more groundwork than it actually does. That is: while there’s some big, nigh-fun action here – nigh if it wasn’t lacking in spatial awareness, and stakes, and followup, but it looks pretty cool – and some story payoffs, when you piece it together with the absence of story and character from part one, and its pacing problems, it rather doubles down on all those same hiccups. And then there’s the flipside: that the choppy writing style, which could be excused as effecting mystery earlier on, just proves to be choppy in the long run, carried through to a conclusion. You can’t even tell who’s narrating most of the time, and maybe worse, it doesn’t really feel like it matters. 

So how is this better, exactly? 

Well, artist Ludovica Ceregatti is much more consistent, here, and maybe works best not trying to balance human drama with the more wild stuff: they excel at drawing weird creatures, and we get a lot of that here. Secondly, despite all my complaining above, the faster, more action-based pacing of these issues makes it easier to just sift through them and absorb those visuals, so it’s not difficult to read. 

Broken Souls Ballad is kind of a juiced up X-Men: multiple kids are bred to be mutants, and have escaped the facility in which they were raised, now tracked down and fighting back.