‘Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories - Volume 2’ - Advance Trade Paperback Review

It’s easy for me to read 350 pages of a Hellboy comic in one sitting, because the world is so damned enjoyable and diverse. You walk away feeling fulfilled, like you’ve been on a journey. There’s so much mythology that’s being mined; it has a sense of humor that ranges from the dry to the ridiculous and plenty of action to tie it all together, with strokes of pathos littered throughout. Whereas the first volume provided a lot of background for Hellboy’s adventures, including seeing Hellboy as a kid, this one spends a lot of time exploring and expanding the universe Hellboy toils in on a day-to-day basis. Like the first volume and regular series, Hellboy finds himself running into paranormal monsters all over the world: vampires of various kinds; the baba yaga (a Russian witch who comes back as a major villain in the third Omnibus that was just released); and some Japanese spirits whose heads separate from their bodies to eat you. It’s a hoot.

A big part of what makes it so enjoyable is Hellboy’s straightforward charm. Much like the Humphry Bogarts and Clint Eastwoods of the world, he doesn’t mince words. We, as a reader, may see him fall into chaos, and he responds to impending doom as if he spilled water on his pants. He’s a working man’s paranormal investigator. It’s a dichotomy that, more often than not, makes me laugh - that and the skeletons, possessed animals, and minor demons who taunt, troll, or state the obvious whenever Hellboy is around.

Like the first volume of short stories, this series brought together a wonderful group of talents. Richard Corben is, of course, always a welcome addition to the Hellboy universe. Scott Hampton, P. Craig Russel, Kevin Nowlan, and Jason Shawn Alexander fill out the other stories with some incredible artwork. For the most part, Dave Stewart’s colors tie each story together, except when Lovern Kindzierski steps in for an issue. Otherwise, there is nothing like Mike Mignola bringing his own world to life.

If, like me, you’re indulging completely in the world of Hellboy, this collection is well worth the addition to your library. Now I need some wall poster art of baby Hellboy standing in front of a giant rhino - surreal and beautiful.

Creative Team: Mike Mignola (stories and art), Richard Corben, Scott Hampton, P. Craig Russel, Kevin Nowlan, Jason Shawn Alexander (artists), Dave Stewart, Lovern Kindzierski (colors), Clem Robbins, Pat Brosseau, Galen Showman (letters), Scott Allie (editor), plus Joshua Dysart (cowriter)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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