December 13, 2008

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Hellboy Volume 2

Written by Mike Mignola
Illustrated by Mike Mignola
Dark Horse

Mignola takes full control of the dialog in this, the second collection of Hellboy stories. After the slightly more traditional John Byrne speaking style, Mignola takes the dialog in a bit more of a casual feel, giving people a bit less to say but charging the words more. My favorite perhaps being Hellboy pointing out that hie foe, while menacing, is lacking pants.

This selection again focuses on the sinister origins of Hellboy, as he fights (indirectly) the same foe he had in the first trade. This book is more of a solo effort by Hellboy, the other characters only play a supporting role (and a rather disastrous one, at that). There's more Nazis and mythical creatures, along with talking dead priest heads. You also get fights at the crossroads, vampires returning from certain death, and a lot of shit just plain blows up.

Now that might not seem so entertaining, except that, with a few holes that come with an artist trying to break into scripting, it's clear that Mignola has a plan in his head for the various plots going on in these books. No mater how much Hellboy tries to fight it and be his own (I was going to say man, but I guess that's not the right word) demon, his past is going to keep coming back.

While fast and furious, the mythological references are great--gorgons, witch-birds, giant talking Iron Maidens (okay, so that's not really mythological), and even the Baba Yaga and her chicken-leg house show up to create a world that's just so dog-gone strange as to make you want to see what's coming next.

Drawn in Mignola's signature block goth style, with only Hellboy's red really sticking out against the panels, we have a world of cults, criminals, and secret plans with heads in jars (no, not Richard Nixon's...at least not yet). If you like horror with a humorous twist, and I do, this is great stuff. Now I just have to remember to read more of it!