Overview

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #2

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Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #2

Credits

  • Words: Mike Mignola
  • Art: Duncan Fegredo & Guy Davis
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 7, 2009

Hellboy has been betrayed but what of his betrayers and what of the giants? Meanwhile, what of the Queen of the Witches?

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt is shaping up to be everything that is great about Mignola’s supernatural hero with the blue collar attitude. The plot not only takes some interesting twists and turns we also begin to get a little "sympathy for the devil" but not in the way you might think. On top of all of that, readers get a second story in this issue: ""How Koshchei Became Deathless" with art from BPRD artist Guy Davis

After being invited along on a hunt to slay giants before they can ravage the English countryside, Hellboy finds the members of the Wild Hunt turn on him, stab him through the chest with a spear, then try to electrocute him for good measure. Of course, it takes more than that to keep Hellboy down and he finds himself with some new allies and some very nasty enemies. Meanwhile, the Gruagach continues his quest to resurrect the new Queen of the Witches and we learn a little bit about his history and why this quest means so much to him.

After years of Hellboy’s stories, after years of leading readers toward an inevitable conclusion, writer Mike Mignola takes another step on the path here. The wonderful thing about the Hellboy stories in general and this mini-series in particular is the way that Mignola melds everything together. There is a feeling of dark, ancient history; myths and legends that sleep under the surface just waiting to be awakened. There are touches of horror but there are also healthy doses of dark fantasy and modern humor – particularly in the juxtaposition of the strange and impossible with Hellboy’s no-nonsense attitude. Even more than all of that, Mignola takes a character that has appeared several times in the past as bad guy – or at least a selfish, ignorant figure and, in just a handful of panels, completely changes the reader’s view. Gruagach goes from being an annoyance to a figure of pity and sadness without the transformation feeling forced or manipulated.

The art provided by Duncan Fegredo is as good in its own way as anything Mignola produced as an artist. While Fegredo’s style is different than Mignola’s, he understands the darkness and, most of all, the pacing of the story. Fegredo allows for long, lingering panels that never seem like padding or boring breaks. Instead they help drench the comic in atmosphere and otherworldliness. He also switches easily between the strange and the eerie to acts of horror, battles, and touching bits of romance. Fegredo truly captures the lyrical nature of the script.

If there is a weak point to this issue (and it is a very slight weak point) it would be the short story at the back, "How Koshchei Became Deathless". For those who do not remember, Hellboy fought Koshchei in the miniseries Darkness Calls and here Mignola, along with artist Guy Davis, gives a glimpse into Koshchei’s back story. Mignola manages to capture the feel of an authentic folk-tale but the lead character never quite humanizes enough to care deeply about his adventures. Guy Davis’s art, however, handles everything well from scenery, to the horror of battle, to beings of fantasy and fable.

Overall, however, The Wild Hunt is pure Mignola Hellboy. Only two issues in and already the story contains everything fans of come to love and expect – Hellboy getting the crap beat out of him, Hellboy cracking jokes, weird things happening, monsters, tragedy, heartbreak and portents of doom. In Mignola’s hands the world of magic and creatures lives just under the surface of our own. In places where the veil grows thin, the creatures of myth come out to play and some of them don’t play nice. That’s why there’s Hellboy.

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