‘Hellboy in Hell Volume 1: The Descent’ - Advance TPB Review (Not a Great Neighborhood)

Hellboy is dead. No big deal; we all gotta die sometime, but most of us won’t get the grand tour of Hell when we do. This comic finally answers the tough questions. What happens to a demon-prince of Hell who renounced his infernal purpose after being raised by the American Army during WWII when he dies? The answer, happily, is exactly what you want from a Hellboy comic.

Mike Mignola’s writing and art are at the top of his considerable game. This trade is a meandering blend of classic literature, from The Inferno (natch) and Macbeth to A Christmas Carol and a super-weird Grimm’s Fairy Tale. This blending and re-purposing of the classics is nothing new for Hellboy, but it is particularly well done in this series. The result is a comic that skips all the wailing and gnashing of teeth to show a bleak and hopeless version of Hell.

The art is as good as any Hellboy I have read, and Hellboy has always had some of the best art in comics. The setting is more varied and interesting than I have seen in Hell. The characters and creatures are pretty great, too. My personal favorite is either the naked jigsaw ghost that helps Hellboy navigate Hell or the friendly, little ape-demon that isn’t really helpful at all. My favorite thing about Hellboy is that I got to write that last sentence. My favorite thing about the art is that it can be funny, disturbing, or both at the same time. I should also mention that Dave Stewart’s colors are flawless. They breathe life into the pages without ever drawing attention to the color. They range from muted blues to muted orange with every muted shade between making an appearance.

If you are a fan of Hellboy, and you really should be, this is an easy recommendation. The story does not require much knowledge of the backstory. I don’t even know how far back I am in the catalog, but I know I am several years from caught up. My tremendous lack of knowledge didn’t affect my enjoyment at all. In fact, the only problem I have is that now I want to go back and read the rest of the series.


Four and a Half Newly Arrived Dark Princes of Pandemonium out of Five

Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon
Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python

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