By Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart
Well, we’ve waited and waited, the moment has finally arrived. Almost a year (by one day) after the first issue of Hellboy in Hell was released we finally get the follow up issue to the first 4-issue arc. This is a standalone story, much like the kinda that Mike Mignola had expressed his interest in doing, now that (Spoilers) Hellboy is dead and, well, in Hell.
One-off stories in Hell are exactly what the doctor ordered. No, not the Doctor, it’s just an expression. Anyway, Mignola at his best playing in the world he’s always wanted and telling the story of a man who sold his soul to a lesser demon for a magical whip that produces gold coins and with the promise of living like a king. Sounds like a fair trade, right? Well, there’s always a catch. This is most likely an old folk tale from some corner of the globe that Mignola had stumbled across and has since adapted to fit in the Mignolaverse, as he’s done before, and everything just flows and fits together nicely. The story isn’t really about Hellboy, so much as it’s about this man trying to save his soul from being taken which makes Hellboy almost the vessel that the reader gets to observe this story. It’s really interesting and hopefully Mignola can/will revisit this type of story in the future.
Now, Mignola’s writing is always top notch but his art… oh his art is just a dream. Since it was announced he was returning to Hellboy as writer and artist the excitement for this has been off the charts. After actually getting to read it and see it, well, that excitement just increased and made the wait for this issue excruciating. Mignola is, obviously, the Hellboy artist. He invented the character, for Batman’s sake. His style is all his own and has influenced countless artists. The heavy blacks, the way the backgrounds fade away when he has a close up on a character, his little, seemingly, random panels in between dialogues. It’s all so Mignola and every page is something you just want to stare at over and over. Something of particular note this issue seemed to be his work with the architecture and statues. There are a few panels as Hellboy and Mr. Dulot head into the graveyard that are just spectacularly crafted.
Everything is dark, with lots of greys and blues and his usual heavy blacks which really add to the tone of the book. Dave Stewart, the coloring master, adds in some fantastic pops of reds and oranges here and there while maintaining that dark and dreary look that, clearly, Mignola is going for. It might not be his most elaborate work, but it’s all very thought out and, as always, executed exceptionally.
As always, it needs to be stated that being a huge Mike Mignola and Hellboy fan some of you might think that this review leans towards the bias side of things. But I assure you, go check out Hellboy. If you’ve never read it, you’re in for something special. Hell (pun not intended), just check out the first four issues of Hellboy In Hell and get a glimpse of the master doing what he does best.
Oh! You thought I was done rambling, didn’t you? Well, don’t forget to look for the IDW Artist’s Edition of the first five Hellboy in Hell issues! It was announced at NYCC and if you want to really see the master Mike Mignola’s work then look no further than this upcoming collection which, incidentally, doesn’t have a release date yet. But keep your eyes peeled, because this is going to be an Artist’s Edition for the ages. Okay. Now I’m done.