Third in my series of ‘other people read stuff’ is a review of Hellboy In Hell – Volume 1, Mike Mignola’s return to writing his signature character. This time you’re in the (sort of) safe hands of the Brute, a bearish geek I met accidentally in London and, thanks to the beauties of 21st century technology, have been unable to shake off (I jest, he’s lovely.) He sporadically runs the Comic Book Day Show podcast, so he’s the closest thing I have to a comic book expert. Take it away, Brute.
So today I sat down and read through Hellboy in Hell. I think this is the best place to state I have not really read much Hellboy in my time – maybe flicked through Seeds of Destruction once, but never really sat down and dove into the franchise. This is crazy as I love both the movies and the concept. This also really worried me when I decided to read In Hell as a review, as I was seriously worried ‘what if it ruins Hellboy for me?’ But, weighing up the options, I decided to risk it.
Boy, am I glad I did. This book was amazing. Without going into spoilers, the feel of the book and the premise sells itself. There are obviously a lot of characters referred to from previous books, yet they are introduced and feel well crafted. The characters have a strong essence of self and are brilliantly fleshed out. The best feeling I got from this book was “I want to read the next one”.
This is extremely strange feeling for this reason: normally, when I read a book that’s really good I want to go back and read the story leading up to this point. Find out all about his history, and be caught completely up to date. But with how much this book drew me in, I just want to keep going. I want his history to be referred to, (and don’t get me wrong, I want to read it all) but mainly what I really want is to see where this story goes. It feels like what I wish more comics felt like, in that I could just pick up a random trade paperback and read it. I’ll probably re–read it again in the next week, the design was so good.
Ok – now for the negatives. Maybe it’s because I have not read the other stories, however a few of the characters felt a little like they weren’t done enough justice. This is crazy, because it wasn’t those characters I expected. If anything, it was completely the opposite characters. But again I cant call this a criticism of the story, as I’m not fleshed in the universe and don’t know if it was just more established in previous volumes.
All in all, I highly recommend it for first time and most likely Hellboy fans alike. It’s definately reassured me that this is a franchise I want to invest my time in and will enjoy reading in the future.
Book kindly provided for review by Netgalley.