What does it take to be human? Flesh? Blood? How about a Soul? As Hellboy and Roger the Homunculus journey to South Carolina to investigate a supposedly routine haunting, they will soon find out nothing is routine when dealing with the supernatural.
Hellboy: Being Human(One-Shot)
Story: Mike Mignola
Art: Richard Corben
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover: Richard Corben with Dave Stewart
Designers: Mike Mignola & Cary Grazzini
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Story Pages: 28
Cover Price: $3.50 USD
Previously, in Hellboy: Roger the Homunculus was found under a castle, killed Liz Sherman, but that didn’t stick. He was taken back to B.P.R.D. Headquarters to be studied.
WHAT MAKES A MAN, A MAN?
Cooped up within the confines of the B.P.R.D. Headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, Roger the Homunculus reads Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. Hellboy attempts to drag the sullen Golem on a routine case to get him out of his funk, but a simple haunting takes a unexpected turn when supernatural forces over take the two paranormal investigators.
Under the pen of Mike Mignola the story is yet another one of the great “Done In One” affairs that Dark Horse has published over the years. Focusing on Roger the Homunculus, this tale delves into “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” territory, and that isn’t such a bad thing.
Within these pages is a subtle side of Roger, who after all is a thing in the form of a man, but with form does their come substance? Yes, there does. Roger and Hellboy discuss his existence, one that is harsh, and complicated. He was never “born” he was grown in a jar, he was abandoned, and never knew his place in this world. But being that as it may, he still feels. He knows of sadness, of regret, of loss.
Of course Mignola knows how to write Hellboy and Roger, he created them after all, but when combined with the Old Woman, it was a great pairing. The story itself was a very nice parallel between Roger and the Old Woman, both wanted to know their place in the world, and unlike Roger, the Old Woman would do whatever it took to grab hold of hers.
THE CORE OF CORBEN
With artwork being provided by Richard Corben, I knew this comic was going to be good from the get go. Ever since the Hellboy in Mexico story from last year I have clamored for these Corben One-Shot’s and they haven’t disappointed yet.
The artwork from Corben is just as what you would expect if you knew his work, dark, moody, and crisp. The rotting corpses that have risen from their eternal slumber, the giant voodoo zombie warrior, and the Old Woman look amazing, classic Corben all the way.
My only nit that I have to pick at is Corben’s depictions of Hellboy and Roger. For some reason it just doesn’t sit well. Maybe Corben’s distinct style just doesn’t lend itself to the mental picture of what both Hellboy and Roger look like within my head, since his style is clearly his own. The contrast between everyone else in the book, and these two is stark.
It’s the whole package that’s what has me hooked, and I am not going to let some character misgivings ruin that. As for the page layouts, they are not some crazy experimental mess. They are professional, and it comes from over 30 years of experience, they all are easy to follow, and appealing to the eyes.
As far as the cover is concerned it is a good one, the tone is set by looking upon it, and you can get the gist of where this comic will lead. The colors that help set the mood are really good, very subdued, and anything other than subdued would look out of place, since Corben goes above and beyond when depicting shadow and light. All in all the artwork is a well rounded, and bountiful offering to the comic book gods.
FINAL VERDICT: DRAG ME TO HELL-BOY
This One-Shot is a fun story that is well worth the $3.50 cover price, and is full helping of supernatural comic book goodness. It has a good writing, great art, and great subject matter. But most importantly you can go into relatively blind, and still get a kick out of it.
This comic, as with other Hellboy related comics, I recommend to people that normally don’t read comic books. They are great ways of getting into a universe, and though this is a character piece for Roger, it’s still a good slice of what the Hellboy-verse is like.
In closing, Hellboy: Being Human(One-Shot) receives 4.5 Stars, out of 5.