REVIEW: Hellboy in Hell

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Just in the time for the holiday season, Hellboy has gone to hell! Mike Mignola writes and illustrates his new ongoing Hellboy series and does exactly what the title promises. Is there any hope for Big Red or will he succumb to his fiery doom? More after the jump!

HELLBOY IN HELL #1
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Hellboy: Hellboy fought and defeated the monster Ogdru Jahad, causing the Queen of Blood, Nimue, to be dragged to hell by a tower of drowned witches. In her last stroke of vengeance, she ripped out Hellboy’s heart, pulling it down with her and leaving his body to crumble to dust.

HELLBOY IN ALMOST HELL!

Sure as the title promises, Hellboy is dragged to hell, or at least the underworld. A mysterious masked man, Sir Edward, makes it his business to guide Hellboy back to the surface and safely out of hell’s depths. It’s not going to be easy, as Hellboy is immediately accosted by an angry disgraced demon, is separated from his spectral guide and is treated to a puppet show.

It’s important to remember that Mike Mignola will not hold your hand through any of his books, let alone this one. This first book assumes the reader has at least read the previous two Hellboy series before picking up this one. While Mignola does provide an extremely brief explanation of where the previous series left off, it will be a bit disorienting to immediately pick this book up without at least having read the Storm and the Fury.

That said this book is a fairly good start to the new series. It’s not a terribly busy book as it’s setting the stage for this newest turn of events in the Hellboy mythos. Save for his run in with a demon from his past, the book is relatively quiet which makes sense because Mignola is establishing the mood. He’s not completely leaving the reader without a hook. He foreshadows what could be the future of this series by quoting Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Or at least it’s assumed to be foreshadowing since Mignola rarely writes anything into his books without their having a purpose somewhere down the road. Overall, the book leaves the reader wanting more.

EVERYTHING. MIGNOLA. DRAWS. IS. AWESOME.

Mike Mignola’s art is classic for being geometric and almost tribal in style, something immediately recognizable for not only Hellboy but for the whole B.P.R.D. universe. Nothing has changed and that’s perfect. Having the complete artistic and written reins on this series, as well as having no deadline, allows Mignola to take his time and deliver the stellar work that he’s known for.

Mignola doesn’t dump the reader into the stereotypical fiery concept of hell, instead employing nautical and Victorian motifs as a means of establishing setting. Mignola keeps everything simple, giving it a spooky feel, and is able to artfully establish a mood with as little as possible. For a book that’s going to be based primarily in the hell, this will be a blessed change of pace from what is typically out there when dealing with the underworld. So to speak.

BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU’VE READ THE STORM AND THE FURY, PICK UP THIS BOOK

Hardcore Mignola fans should take to this book immediately. It’s not quite as active as the other Hellboy books out there, but that’s also because Mignola has time to thoroughly tell a story sans deadline. While you won’t get a ton of action, you will get a classic Mignola book and what is a promising start to this new ongoing series. Be warned though: If you haven’t read the Storm and the Fury, or at the very least the Wild Hunt, you will be lost.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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