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‘Koshchei the Deathless:’ Advance Trade Paperback Review

In the world of Hellboy, villains are relentless.  They come after him with vigor and passion, driven by needs beyond those with which mortals toil from day to day. One such antagonist in Hellboy’s pantheon is Koshchei. The tale of Koshchei the Deathless is an epic and sad one. It is brutal and heartbreaking. It is high tragedy and intimate fable rolled into one. While it is all of those things, it is also about the need for redemption and to reclaim one’s humanity.

Koshchei finds himself in a bar in Hell sitting across from Hellboy. His desire is to apologize and explain to Hellboy why he was compelled to try and kill him. This conversation takes place just before the final moments of Hellboy in Hell. Hellboy is like a load-bearing wall; anything can be built upon his presence no matter how strange or bizarre, and sanity will automatically be injected into the proceedings. He provides the perfect counterbalance to the serious of Koshchei’s story; even he can’t believe how dark it gets!

The story follows Koshchei from his human life as a great warrior, to his time as an apprentice under a dragon, through a romance and the following revenge, to his dealings with the Baba Yaga – another great Hellboy villain. Like Hellboy, in the end, his story continues beyond the pages of the book. No character in Mignola’s universe exists in a single time and place, but they exist beyond our lives and in places we can barely imagine. That’s what brings these characters and these stories to life in ways that are unique and long lasting.

As a bonus, we get to see Hellboy’s last moments from a different angle, one that somehow made me very emotional. Even in the final moments of his existence in this reality, Hellboy’s only concern was for someone else.

If you’ve been purchasing the Hellboy omnibuses, this collection of Koshchei the Deathless is a perfect addition.

Also, the art by Ben Steinbeck and the colors by Dave Stewart are perfection, and Clem Robbins always does a stellar job on letters. This is a dream team for a project like this.

Creative Team: Mike Mignola (story), Ben Stenbeck (artist), Dave Stewart (colors), Clem Robins (letters), Scot Allie and Kath O’Brien (editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.


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