Archive for Ghost

Hell’s Angels

I’ve finished up all my regular reviews early so I can devote this week to reviewing a few of my favorite horror-focused graphic novels. Let’s start with something that came out very recently…

Hellboy: Masks and Monsters

This one reprints the “Batman/Hellboy/Starman” miniseries from 1999 and the “Ghost/Hellboy” miniseries from 1996. For some of you fanboys out there, that’s all it took for you to get on the horn to your local comic shop to reserve a copy. Both of these series have been out-of-print for ages — if you wanted them, you had to be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on eBay. So this collection is very good news for comics fans.

We start out with “Batman/Hellboy/Starman,” with writing by James Robinson and art by Mike Mignola. Golden-Age Starman Ted Knight gets kidnapped while attending a conference in Gotham City. Batman tries to stop the kidnappers, a bunch of spell-slinging neo-Nazis, but they make their getaway. Hellboy soon shows up to offer his aid — the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense has identified the kidnappers as a Nazi organization called the Knights of October. A little detective work lets them track them down, but can they keep them from getting away? In the second half of the story, Ted Knight’s son, Jack Knight, the then-current Starman, travels with Hellboy to South America, where the Knights of October have their secret base. They plan to use Ted Knight’s knowledge of astronomy to raise a monstrous cthulhoid monster to lay waste to the world. Can Hellboy and Starman stop them and rescue Ted Knight?

In the “Ghost/Hellboy” story, written by Mignola and pencilled by Scott Benefiel, we start out with a great sequence from 1939, where a mobster axe-murders a guy, then calls in the local egghead occultist when he can’t get the guy’s ghost to stop laughing at him. And then he kills the occultist, too. Flash-forward to the present in Arcadia City, where Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. try to recruit Ghost, a murdered reporter-turned-spectral vigilante. But she gets tricked by an underworld demon into fighting Hellboy so the demon can carve off Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom and use it to end the world. How long will it take the two supernatural do-gooders to wise up and start helping each other?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The “Batman/Hellboy/Starman” story is a special thrill because it’s something I never thought I’d actually get to read. It’s incredibly cool to have a comic that features Mignola artwork of both Batman and Starman and the Joker. It’s got Nazis and Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and retro-pulp action and buckets of all that Hellboy-style goodness. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the “Ghost/Hellboy” story — it’s deliciously creepy and fun.

The whole thing was released just this month, so even if your local comic shop doesn’t have this in stock, they can still order it for you. So go get it already!

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