Monday, April 23, 2007


Yesterday I dove back into the world of Hellboy by reading the fourth trade, Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom. It collects mostly short stories, though it does include the two issues mini-series, Box Full of Evil. More importantly, it's full of goodies.

The trade starts off with the hilarious two page short, "Pancakes," which describes the young Hellboy's first taste of pancakes and the dire consequences of that first bite. In fact, that's one of the things that can be overlooked - the humor of the series. When Hellboy is in Japan and dealing with heads that detach from bodies and wish to eat him (in "Heads"), things come to a humorous end. Much of the humor comes from Hellboy himself in the form of his reactions to the various situations he finds himself in; then again, sometimes funny things happen to him.

It's not all lighthearted, of course. Hellboy has to deal with the fact that his right hand potentially spells doom ("The Right Hand of Doom") and that he wears the Crown of the Apocalypse on his head ("Box Full of Evil"). There's plenty of mythology throughout, from Norwegian ("King Vold") to English ("The Nature of the Beast"), and plenty of encounters with ectoplasmic entities ("Goodbye, Mister Tod") and vampires ("The Varcolac").

As always, Mike Mignola's art is gorgeous. I could spend a long time just staring at the panels - the detail and energy are amazing. Of course, it's enhanced by the superb coloring of Dave Stewart. This is comics at its highest form.

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