Thursday, September 08, 2011

Mike Mignola & John Byrne, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (1994)

This thing was just sorta sitting around, so I read it during the commercial breaks of the first half of the NFL season opener (and wrote this review during the commercial breaks of the second half--how's that for fast turnaround?). From The Internetâ„¢, I learn that it's in fact the first Hellboy serial, so I didn't miss any previous context or anything like that.

The idea is that, in the waning days of World War II, Occult Nazis (that's the worst kind!) summoned a demon to help them out with the war effort, but allied people got to him first, and so, fifty years later, he's a force for good. Present-day, and the guy who instigated the original project is up to his old shenanigans, trying to get Hellboy to help him out with summoning a big, Cthulhu-esque squid thing.

I feel like I don't have as much to say about this as perhaps I should. I found it to be mostly entertaining, though not that substantial (I find Robert Bloch's hyperbolic introduction a bit eyebrow-raising). Hellboy himself is an appealing enough character, and I was glad to see that he's not overly self-consciously edgy or EXTREEEME!!!! which is something you kind of expect to see from a comic about a demon-y superhero-y guy published in 1994. The fight scenes were reasonably exciting.

Still, there's not all that much to the story, really. The mystery of What's Going On is dispelled pretty early in the proceedings, and while the business with the evil dude and the demons is potentially interesting, it's not really that well-developed, and evil dude is defeated in a deus-ex-machina-ish way. I do like the fact that, even though his identity is pretty immediately obvious to anyone with the most rudimentary sort of historical awareness, it's never actually stated, which would've been on the intelligence-insulting side.

Hellboy's teammates aren't all that well-developed either, though that's something that could easily be remedied in later stories. Still, I don't think I'll be reading them unless I find them lying around--I won't say this first thing was bad or nothin', but even though it ends by setting up more to come, I'm not burning with a desire to find out what happens next, or what the deal is with Hellboy's past. I do feel a vague sort of desire--more like a velleity, really--to see the movies, but that's about all.

Still, it filled the commercial breaks.


Blogger Unknown pontificated to the effect that...

The best Hellboy comics have the sense of a good ghost story. The first series does not. Also, Mignola's art gets better (though he never does fully grasp human anatomy).

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Gregory pontificated to the effect that...

I actually ordered the next few books in the series a few days ago; let me know if you want me to take them home with me Christmas break.

6:17 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Yeah, sure, if they're around, I'd check them out. Thanks.

6:33 PM  

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