Aw, crap…


It’s good to have Mike Mignola writing and drawing his most famous creation.  Even though everyone who stepped in during his absence did a fine job, nothing is more steeped in the history of myth and magic than the research done by Mignola.  In the Chapel of Moloch is filled with the historical references we’ve been missing.

hellboymolochcover.jpgMIgnola takes us back to 1992, finding Hellboy traveling to southern Portugal to check out a rental property that has the renter and his close artist friend, Jerry,  a little concerned.  Seems Jerry is in a slump and needs a nice quiet place to whip up some paintings for a big gallery exhibit.  In addition to a nice plot of land and buildings to work in, the land lord threw in a chapel.  Jerry takes an instant liking to the place, and begins painting during the night.  His paintings, as Hellboy describes them, are very reminiscent of the work of Goya,   If you’ve seen Saturn Devouring His Son, you get a hint at the horrific images Jerry has been painting while his friend has been away attending to other affairs.

Some artists change when they work, and Jerry is no different, diving off into the deep end, working only at night, and speaking all sorts of gibberish.  When the duo enter the Chapel, they not only discover more bizarre paintings, they also find a giant clay statue Jerry has been working on – a statue of the goat god Moloch.  Turns out little demons have been crawling up from a hole in the chapel and possessing Jerry into making the statue in an attempt to bring the beastie to life.

As you might expect in a Mignola Hellboy title, Moloch does indeed come to life, and there’s a couple pages of fighting, with the requisite number of “crap” moments from Hellboy, before the day is won by the demon wielding Right Hand of Doom.

I half expected this to be a two or three issue arc, but Mignola brings the tale in in one, which is nice.  I guess I’ve grown accustomed to other writers making Hellboy a more stoic character of few words, because in the hands of Mignola, Hellboy becomes a virtual chatterbox of information as he spills out the information left and right about magical amulets, the background of Moloch, and more.  It almost feels like this one-shot is too wordy, but without all the dialogue, the issue would have made little to no sense, and I feel readers would come away just thinking the issue was all about Hellboy punching some goat god.

I’m a huge fan of Mignola’s art work, so I’m at a loss to find anything terribly wrong with what he is doing.  Other’s have tried to mimic his style, and have come close, but nothing is better than the original.  Layout, pacing, and even the colors (not by Mignoloa, but by Dave Stewart) all rock.  I expect to see the original pages selling in the thousands in the near future.

Even though the issue feels wordy, it is pretty direct.  The reader is lead through the set up, and the reveal, which leads us directly to the climax which is a great payoff.  I even love seeing Mignola’s humor emerge through Hellboy in the closing lines of the issue.   I can’t wait to see more Mignola Hellboy in the coming months, and until then, I’m more than happy to read through this one-shot a few more times.  Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch is good enough to earn 3.5 out of 5 Stars.


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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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