Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review: Hellboy in Hell 7-10 by M. Mignola

Hellboy in Hell Issues 7 to 10 story and art by Mike Mignola, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robbins

Hellboy's journey in Hell comes to an end in these final four issues of Hellboy in Hell. Originally I was going to wait for a trade paperback to come out but then I found out it was the end of Hellboy's story arc and couldn't wait to find out from the primary source (happily, avoiding spoilers on the internet for comic book stories is a lot easier than for television shows).

The first story is a two-parter entitled The Hounds of Pluto. Hellboy is feeling poorly. Two demonic doctors help him out. A parasite (again of the demonic kind) has attached itself to Hellboy's soul. The doctors aren't too helpful but they bring him to another doctor who can do something. They discover the new doctor is on trial but he gets off so the situation works out. The prosecutor was none too happy and is willing to go to extreme measures to get revenge on the doctor. Hellboy's fists can help in that department. The story fluctuates naturally between pathos and comedy and is very enjoyable.

The penultimate story is called The Spanish Bride. In the 1950s on Earth, Hellboy had a drunken sojourn in Mexico. One story from that time relates how Hellboy got married. Turns out the woman was a demon, or at least possessed by a demon. Hellboy and his ex run into each other again in Hell. By this point, Hell is falling apart--many of the higher demons have died or fled, including Satan who was killed by Hellboy in an earlier issue. The other demons are running amok or running scared. Hellboy has a touching and informative conversation with his ex. Again there is a lot of bittersweet pathos and comedy in the issue.

The final story's title is For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hellboy wanders through what's left of Hell, causing lots of destruction in his wake. His roll as Anung un Rama, the Destroyer of Worlds and Creator of Worlds, becomes more clear as he meets his ultimate fate.

The story arc is both macabre and touching. The mood is enhance by Mignola's distinctive style, with lots of black and callouts of interesting and relevant details. The story is a joy to read and look at and it is a satisfying ending to Hellboy's story.

Of course, Hellboy had a long career with the B.P.R.D. and stories are still being written about various myths and monsters that he's run into over his long career, so stories featuring Hellboy are far from over. But the ending is here for all to appreciate.

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