By: Mike Mignola (Writer/Artist) Dave Stewart (Colorist)
The Story: Hellboy continues to explore Hell and is shown his destiny and key moments of his past.
The Review: I have a truly soft spot in my heart for Mike Mignola’s biggest creation, Hellboy. As the very series that ignited my love for comics and passion for graphic storytelling, the red devil is a character dear to my heart in many ways.
Of course, one could say that this makes me biased from the very start of this review, yet there is something that must be said about Hellboy as a series that is doubly true in this issue: it possess some incredible qualities, both in the art and storytelling department. The continuing tales of Hellboy have always been rich with mythology and historical facts that elevate the whole series as something truly wonderful. Close to each storylines have been full of references to other myths or stories, making us see just how much care Mike Mignola puts in the big devil himself in terms of quality.
In this issue, Mike Mignola quotes Macbeth and A Christmas Carol while exploring Hell and its relations with Hellboy and it never feels out of place, not even once. It creates a truthful tension and a sense of fate, something that has been one of the major themes of Hellboy from the very start. With every single sentence comes deeper meaning and a sense of strange wonder that makes it all the more interesting to read, as the plot advances and the concepts get deeper with each page, yet it never goes too far or too fast. The pacing is wonderful in this issue and it shows that Mignola truly knows his craft as an artist and a writer.
His vision of Hell is particularly inspired, borrowing from Christian mythology and from Paradise Lost by John Milton, resulting in something that is interesting to discover both in term of concepts and artistically. Mignola is absolutely wonderful in his approach to scales and with shadows, creating both grandeur and terror in almost each panel he does. The scene where it is shown how Hellboy got the right arm of doom when he was but a child is particularly riveting, being absolutely exciting, yet terrible to watch. The mood and care in each panel makes this a joyful read, granting us some great atmosphere throughout the entire issue.
Someone else that truly deserves a lot of credit in this issue would be the amazing Dave Stewart, who manages to carefully pick the best shades of each color in every panel, which accentuates the terrors or the greatness of every scene. His crimson red when he draws the fiery pits and the demons goes very well with the more nuanced shades of grey in the quieter scenes, while the greenish rivers and brownish statues are glorious to look at. The way he accentuates the vivid details drawn by Mike Mignola makes this issue a visual treat.
The Conclusion: A wonderful read full of great concepts and context with absolutely amazing art. Seeing this issue makes me know why it is no wonder how I love Hellboy so much.
Hugo Robberts Larivière