Warning: this review is going to contain spoilers for the final story arc.
Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell is a completed comic by Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan. It takes place in a world where mythical beings and minor gods live side by side with mortals and atheist cultists attempt to gain converts by preaching in the street. Our hero is a young man who due to a terrible accident while babysitting, has karma so terrible that he has guaranteed himself a one way trip in a hand basket. In hopes of offsetting his karmic balance, he attempts to volunteer and do good deeds, but the debt is so high, and the transgression so offensive, it is pretty clear he is doomed.
Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell has a somewhat episodic beginning as we are introduced to Darwin and the people in his life. Darwin’s friends and acquaintances include Ella, the daughter of two saints with karma so good she could probably commit mass murder and still be in the clear, his roommate Matt, who is an artist, Skittles, Darwin’s pet manticore, and three deadbeat angels, who occasionally crash on his couch. The initial arcs involve the backstories of most of the characters leading up to the revelation of what it is exactly that Darwin did that earned him eternal damnation. The story slowly begins to take an ominous turn as the story advances, and it soon becomes clear that Darwin is going to become a pawn in the final battle between good and evil, whether he wants to or not.
This is a funny and satirical web comic that takes a dark turn during the final story arc. While I liked the earlier arcs, I did not like the ending of the comic. The resolution of the comic involves our hero making a heroic decision to avert the apocalypse, or at least, that is probably what the authors intended. Darwin’s intent does not communicate very well, since Darwin seems more resigned, depressed and despairing than heroic and altruistic. (This is very much a “your mileage may vary” perception. Poor Darwin gets dragged from pillar to post in the ending arc, and I had a very strong reaction to it.) The epilog of the story is bittersweet but upbeat, and very affecting.