Written and drawn by Mike Mignola
“If I’m bound for hell… I will not go alone”
Recently I was given the chance to review the first issue of the new Hellboy series, ‘Hellboy in Hell’ and even though I hadn’t read much of the character since the 2002 mini ‘Conqueror worm’, I jumped at the chance. I’ve always been fond of the Mignola-verse but since Mignola himself had taken a back-seat to drawing Hellboy and had started concentrating on just the writing I had drifted off buying his books with the intention of always going back. This issue marks his return to art duties so I thought why not start reading Hellboy again!
I was worried going into the issue that I’d be lost as I only kept up-to-date with the character through reading the odd spoiler-filled review over the years but this fear was alleviated with the first few pages as we got a ‘Brief history’ detailing everything you needed to know to be knowledgeable and to enjoy the issue.
After the events of the previous mini, ‘The Fury’, Hellboy has been killed and cast down to hell where he reaches the outer rim and battles a familiar foe he once vanquished and condemned to the abyss. He receives some help and eventually, in a scene that pays homage to one of my all-time favorite stories, ‘A Christmas Carol’, a sort of ghost of Christmas past visits Hellboy. One of the things I’ve liked about Mike Mignola’s work is his ability to take local legends, myths, folklore and even other literature and blend it into his universe of characters with his own slant and make it work. With the ‘A Christmas Carol’ puppet show scene we are treated to vague foreshadowings to where the series is headed and it really made me want more.
Like I said before, this is Mignola’s return to drawing the character and it just looks glorious! His trademark blocky pencil work and heavy shading really gives each panel and each page a distinct look and it is an absolute treat for the eyeballs. He once again shows why he is heavily regarded as one of the masters of sequential storytelling.
The first issue really serves as a nice set-up for the entire series and I’m intrigued at where it will go. My only gripe with the issue is that it felt like it read too quickly. This is to be expected though, as a lot of the story is told through the gorgeous art and Mignola can convey more in one panel than what a lot of comic book writers take three pages to get across. It’s nice to have a book back on the stands where we can get regular Mike Mignola artwork as well as his writing. It’s taken a while for him to get there, but if this first issue is any indication of what to expect of Hellboy’s journey through the underworld then I’m happy to go along for the ride.
4 out of 5 nerds