Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola et al.

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus written by Mike Mignola and draw by Duncan Fegredo

In 1948, the young Hellboy sneaks out of the B.P.R.D. Headquarters in Connecticut at night to smoke a cigarette he filched from some guys in the lunchroom. Just as he finds a nice tree behind which he can light up, he hears a lone drummer on a nearby path. It's a clown playing a drum. Hellboy follows, seeing a poster for a circus. He forgets the cigarette and runs off to see the circus. Naturally it's much more than it appears to be.

The story provides an interesting reflection on Hellboy as seen through the story of Pinocchio. Hellboy discusses the plot of Pinocchio with the circus ring master which brings to mind Hellboy's own desire to be a regular human. Professor Broom, his foster father, wants to give Hellboy as much of a normal childhood as he can have. Others (both humans at the B.P.R.D. and demons at the circus) are concerned about Hellboy's fated role. Is he the harbinger of destruction or even the destroyer himself? It's a mystery that still hasn't been solved, though clearly the older Hellboy in the other stories resists what others tell him is his fate.

The story here is interesting though the young Hellboy is mostly passive in the second half of the story. He is just a kid after need to make him grow up too soon. The book is enjoyable but it does seem like it is little more than a single-issue comic released in a hard-cover format at hard-cover prices.

Sample quote--Mike Mignola's dedication of the book:
For Carlo Collodi, who taught me everything I know about what a puppet should be. And for Ray Bradbury, who confirmed my worst fears about the circus.

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