The Big Red One


Hellboy: The Crooked Man #1

Okay, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” opens in theaters today, so let’s review a new “Hellboy” comic to get in the mood. This story is set back in 1958, with Hellboy going on walkabout in the Appalachian Mountains. He meets up with a guy named Tom Ferrell, who sold his soul to the devil but then chickened out on the deal and took off. Now he’s come back, and he and Hellboy head out to lay the smackdown on the witches, demons, and devil worshippers plaguing the area.

Verdict: Thumbs up. First of all, it’s written by Mike Mignola, who is absolutely aces on pulp horror. And it’s illustrated by Richard Corben, who, as I’ve mentioned recently, is an awesomely slam-bang horror artist. And this story is chock-full of cool horror imagery, from the emptied witch-skin to the defaced Bible to the near-skeletal horse to the evil Crooked Man himself. The only less-than-awesome thing is that Hellboy himself doesn’t have much to do here — he’s mostly asking questions and listening while Tom Ferrell tells him what’s going on. But I trust it won’t be long before he’s hitting demons with that big stone fist…


House of Mystery #3

Well, I don’t have any other new Hellboy or B.P.R.D. comics to review right now, so let’s keep things in the same dark-fantasy genre. Fig, the House’s new permanent resident, tries in vain to escape over the wall that surrounds the property, but it’s no use — she’s one of the five people who can never leave the property unless invited by the ominous coachman who sometimes visits the House. Meanwhile, in the spotlight story, a low-level gangster spins a yarn about a very close shave against some tough mobsters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The spotlight story is a bit dull, and not at all horror, but the rest of the book is suitably spooky, especially the segment at the end with the coachman and Rina, the last person to be allowed to leave the House. And I gotta say, I’m really digging these covers by Sam Weber — so far, they’ve all been beautiful masterpieces of creepiness, and I entirely approve.

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