Overview

Hellboy in Mexico or, A Drunken Blur

Review

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Hellboy in Mexico or, A Drunken Blur

Credits

  • Words: Mike Mignola
  • Art: Richard Corben
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: May 4, 2010

Hellboy in Mexico or, A Drunken Blur is a fantastic story in which Hellboy tells Abe Sapien a story about his past adventures with a group of Mexican masked wrestlers.  This particular story is quite subtle and charming.  It’s short and sweet, and leaves you with a good feeling after, despite its dark story.

In true Hellboy tradition, this comic brings a light tone to mass slaughter and monster slaying.  The reader never gets hung up on the mutilated bodies strewn about and the seemingly endless horde of man-eating demons.  That in itself has its own humor value, but the casual tone with which Mike Mignola writes Hellboy’s speech really makes this book gold.  While this should be an emotional story for Hellboy, the almost fond way he tells it removes the drama from the equation and gives the reader the sense that Hellboy is your friend, and he’s reminiscing to you. 

Richard Corben’s sequential work in this one-shot was paramount in setting this atmosphere.  Each panel provides lots of details to feed your imagination while focusing your attention on a central figure or action, so as not to distract you from the larger narrative.  Somehow, Mignola and Corben managed to create an exciting and engaging story where the action scenes appear to be static and the most dynamic panels are the ones in between fights.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around this concept, but I have to say that it’s very refreshing. 

One instance of this is in the final fight scene, where Hellboy fights (and this is a bit of a spoiler) the youngest of the wrestling brothers, who has been turned into a demon.  While the surrounding panels feature Hellboy being beaten and tossed around violently, the most profound panel is the one between the hits; when the demon removes his masks and shows Hellboy what he’s become.

It’s not treated with any more dramatic effect than any other panel in the book.  It’s not dramatically lit, or foreshortened, or exaggerated in any way.  In fact, it is precisely because it was treated the same as every other panel that it had such an amazing effect.  Up until this point, the tone of the story was very detached and nostalgic.  Mignola and Corben don’t really allow you to feel the horror of Hellboy’s life.  It all happens in this single panel.  The gravity of the situation and the reality of the loss hit you all at once, and every panel before it and after it suddenly has meaning. 

Hellboy in Mexico or, A Drunken Blur is the perfect mix of humor, sadness, nostalgia, and excitement, which is incredible considering it’s about an adolescent-ish red devil’s drunken escapades with masked wrestlers in Mexico.  It is storytelling at its finest.

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