Title: Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories.
Writer(s): Mike Mignola.
Illustrator(s): Richard Corben, Scott Hampton, P. Craig Russell and many more!
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics.
Format: Paperback – Omnibus.
Release Date: August 28th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror, Fantasy.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on Hellboy:
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 1: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mignola
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 2: Strange Places by Mike Mignola
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 3: The Wild Hunt by Mike Mignola
Sometimes you just find yourself wondering about how inherently different every individual’s perception and understanding of something is from one another. Pour in everyone’s personal experience, their knowledge and their subjective tastes to the mix and you find yourself with an opinion and we all know about those: everyone has one. Hellboy’s character was one of those things that I barely even knew what exactly he was about. My teenage self, whose only knowledge comes from Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies would’ve merely reduced the character to a red ape with a giant right fist who goes around a fantasy town with his amphibian friend and beautiful flaming chick, looking to bargain with mythical creatures who are up to no good. But after having read so many of his stories, and now this second and final short story omnibus, I know that Hellboy is so much more, and to the very least, legendary.
With seventeen standalone stories written by Mike Mignola, the collection showcases some of the most important and award-winning stories in Hellboy’s universe. Giving fans pieces to a bigger puzzle, each adventure continues to play with the half-demon’s lore and sets in motion his inevitable and forthcoming destiny as the Beast of the Apocalypse. The artwork continues to vary greatly from one story to another with the return of countless different artists who have worked on Hellboy. In this short story collection, Hellboy also runs into so many new creatures that he has never had the chance to pummel to the ground before. From having to face Baba Yaga for the first time to having some fun with Blackbeard and even getting abducted by aliens, it’s safe to say that Hellboy is never safe from any trouble.
It’s amazing how Mike Mignola just molds his universe with countless different mythologies and folklore. It might sound ridiculous at first, but when you’ve got a red half-demon with a bad-ass charisma who just loves to deal with threats with his fist, you wonder what else would dare face Hellboy and how long can they all survive. And it’s not even just about tossing all these creatures we know from our personal cultures at Hellboy. Hellboy also has a lot of knowledge on their origins and what not that makes this just as fascinating and insightful as going through a Wikipedia page (without all the little details). If anything, each story does make me want to go out there and discover their real origin stories, it’s just that much fun. And with knowledge, Hellboy also has a tool for every problem. If he needs a special plant to scare away a ghost, a special silver bullet for a furry friend or a nice little cross for our white-faced biting fellows, Hellboy has it. Action sequences will honestly always be hilarious, even if they are short and sometimes not very cinematic.
With some stories much shorter than others, yet just as important, you also come to see a pattern in Hellboy’s personality as an agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He is an extremely gullible individual who will always come to the rescue of those who request it until he then realizes the mess in which he got himself in. He never however gives up and always gets to the end of it, even if it all started with his decision to not think through what he’s about to do. It is still however hilarious how much the saying fits his character: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” I do also love how his character is far from ever showing fear. His life is the most hectic and wild adventure anyone could ever imagine, yet there’s very little that will make him back down. In fact, he clearly shows that he’s a character that prefers confrontation over escape. Then again, the toll of it all, including his destiny, is felt through an aura he assimilated over the years and he carries around with him like his coat and his gun.
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 2 is a fun collection to wrap up the remaining award-winning short stories in the Hellboy series and that ultimately leads up to the events of Seed of Destruction.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
The long-awaited reboot of Hellboy is getting closer to its release now (April 12th 2019)! Expect a trailer to soar through Hell and into our lives anytime soon! For the time being, enjoy these recently released posters! 😀