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My rampage through the back issues of Hellboy, in preparation to read “Hellboy in Hell,” continues!
This little collection is a pretty great pile of mostly standalone shorts and one-shots. You can really see Mignola stretching his leathery, demonic wings with this and pushing the boundaries of what this character and this universe can be. Much of the goofy, “punch it in the face” attitude really, finally becomes a settled stance in this volume (earlier bits had a wider tonal swing). There are bad guys and H.B. is gonna punch them in the face. The art also really locks in (though it’s look has been pretty consistent since the beginning) much the same way The Simpsons did after a year or two.
Of particular note is the two page one-shot “Pancakes.” This is a great look and young Hellboy and the beginnings of his reasons for defending earth. Also we get to hear one of the most powerful demons in the series say “…then this is our darkest hour.” and in context it’s about the funniest thing I’ve seen out of Mignola yet.
All-in-all another fantastic collection of one-shots and fun moments that sort of sum up, where we’ve been so far. It’s a bit of a detour on the road of the main arc of Hellboy’s journey, but in the end the detours are what a good journey is all about…