By: Mike Mignola (Writer/Artist), Dave Stewart (Colorist)
The Story: Family meetings in Hell, what could go wrong there?
The Review: Mike Mignola has a talent for the theatrics, for grandeur and for surprising his audience expectation. Anyone who might have figured out how this series is going to play out shall sorely be off put by what he is doing here, but in a good way.
In this issue, Mignola introduces elements that even the long time readers of Hellboy shall be surprised with. Not satisfied with the fact that Astaroth makes another appearance here, we see important characters like Hellboy’s father along with his two brothers, who were never even mentioned earlier in the series, proving us that Mignola can still trick and surprise us in relevant ways. All the characters here add to the large mythos that Mignola had built around his character since the very start, wowing the readers with its great scope and attention to details. Here, many elements are shown and named that could fuel many other issues like this one, showing just what this series could be.
Indeed, even though there is a large mythology in these pages, it is the potential that is absolutely riveting. There are so many different ways this story could go; it is uncanny, providing us with a mystery and a touch of wonder in such place as hell. This feeling of potential is only helped by the poetic dialogue and the pacing that goes with it, cementing the fact that Mignola knows exactly what he is doing with every single panel.
However, this could also be a small flaw, as even though there are many surprises and some twists, not all of them seem properly built up or actually logical. In this issue, Hellboy is assaulted by his two brothers as they are being manipulated by Astaroth in doing so. The fight, being well-paced and full of interesting tidbits, actually finishes in a way that none could have guessed, in a way that is up to par with all the various religious and cultural references. Still, it seems to come out of nowhere at all, stopping the fight right here abruptly. It does add a bit to the whole myth and tales woven from Mignola’s version of Pandemonium, yet it does seem a bit far-fetched.
Still, it is but a single bump in a superb issue that is even better when one looks at the art. Mignola’s return to the drawing board is still very much worth the price of admission, as his sense of scope in his writing is also evenly matched in the scope of his panels and his art. The big monsters are colossal, the fights are important, the action cool and it just plain look gorgeous. It is hugely helped by Dave Stewart with his simple, yet completely efficacious coloring, adding some somber and outlandish colors to the whole thing, adding even more beauty in Pandemonium and Hellboy’s adventure within it.
The Conclusion: Mike Mignola still continue to impress with his proper return to writing and drawing Hellboy, giving us an issue full of twists, surprise, action and depth. With his artistic skill on top form and the help of Dave Stewart, he continues to deliver on a big series with utter quality.
Hugo Robberts Larivière