So, what makes a good Hellboy story? There are a few things that all the great Hellboy comics have in common. They need a truly weird and obscure myth or fairy tale at their core. They need to be genuinely funny and also have a dark and sinister quality. Most also have little to no exposition, relying instead on the art to tell the story. They also feel like we are seeing a small portion of a much bigger and stranger world. This collection fits the bill.
What I loved about this book was how well everything tied together. We still don’t have answers for many of the big questions, but many of the actors in this book appeared as minor characters in other Hellboy stories. This recycling is one of the things that helped make this world feel real, despite all of the giants and witches. And, oh boy, are there witches.
Yes. Yes, there are.
Some back-of-the-book style SPOILERS AHEAD.
The overarching story in this book is the rise of the Queen of Blood, who assembles an army of fairies, witches, and other weird folk to wage war on mankind. Some of the classic villains from Hellboy’s past make appearances, as well. Hellboy is also forced to confront his destiny once or twice.
As an aside, in the last paragraph, I accidently typed Hellbuoy and have had that hilarious image stuck in my head.
So, does this story hold up when compared to the classic Hellboy stories? Absolutely. The mythology is as strong as I have seen it. The characters are as deep and well-crafted as in any other book. I also loved the art. No, it wasn’t Mignola, but it fit perfectly and the detail was incredible. This book reminded me how much I enjoy reading a good Hellboy comic.
Five vaguely apocalyptic destinies out of five.