December 13, 2008

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Hellboy Volume 1

Written by Mike Mignola and John Byrne
Illustrated by Mike Mignola
Dark Horse

A demonic creation conjured up in the waning days of World War II by Nazi scientists to prop up Hitler's war effort is instead captured and placed under the care of Allied occultists (I love just typing that, to say nothing of reading about it!). Raised to fight evil as part of the B.P.R.D., Hellboy beats the, well, hell out of supernatural foes everywhere.

But when Hellboy's mentor is killed, the investigation leads him back to his past--and a lot of killer frogs. If he can get free of the frogs, can Hellboy defeat the very forces that created him?

You probably know Mignola's art from something, whether it's his Incredible Hulk run, some Batman work, or even covers for fantasy novels. Seeing it here in working for a design in the artist's head is a real treat. It's very obvious he worked long and hard at creating distinctive characters and a fully formed world, and it shows. For those possibly scared by John Byrne's participation, I can tell you that the dialog here is quite good, if a bit overly comic-booky, like his longtime partner Chris Claremont.

Hellboy is a real joy to read, and I hope you take the opportunity to do so if you haven't already.