Comic Rewind: Hellboy Vol. 1

On December 23, 1944, a demon was summoned upon the Earth, but whose side is it on?  See the start of Hellboy’s adventures in Hellboy Vol. 1.

Some Allied troops are holed up in a creepy old church in England.  The Nazi’s want to perform some kind of spell or ritual as part of “Project Ragna Rok.”  Little do they know the Nazi’s don’t need to use the church to perform the ritual. The church is just the delivery location.

A man who is later revealed to be Rasputin begins the ritual with the help of the Nazi’s.  The result is a little boy is teleported in the church. However, the boy is a demon and becomes known as Hellboy.

Hellboy has grown into a Hell man and helps investigate paranormal incidents with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.  One of the paranormal experts, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who was called in to help prevent and understand “Project Ragna Rok.” He also gave Hellboy his name had become a father figure to Hellboy.  When discussing a past mission frogs start to infest the room.

However, these are not just random frogs.  They are a precursor to the frogman. Bruttenholm runs screaming out of the room just to be thrown back in dead with puncture wounds throughout his body.  Hellboy runs out to confront the the attacker and runs into the frogman. The frogman has barbs all over its tongue and wraps it around Hellboy’s arm. However, Hellboy is made of tougher stuff than an old man and kills the frogman.

After the encounter he calls the B.P.R.D. to find out why and who was responsible for his father’s death.  Hellboy leads a team comprised of Abe Sapien and Elizabeth Sherman for find the person behind the murder.

Hellboy Vol. 1 was written by Mike Mignola and John Byrne with art by Mignola.  Dark Horse Comics published the volume in 2004 with the story originally released in 1994.

I have only seen the first Hellboy movie and I thought it was ok.  Hellboy is a character I’ve seen a lot and the series always gets a lot of praise.  I thought I would give it a shot and check it out.

The first thought which came to mind was how much I liked the art.  It feels very old and dark. I thinks it enhances the story a lot. The story felt very creepy and occult.  All the colors are matte and I love my comic art to be matte.

I felt like the story had no real lead up to the action.  It told the origin of Hellboy and then dumps the reader into the action.  I like when stories don’t linger too much, but I also want some kind of lead up.  It felt like I was speeding in a car and haven’t put my seat belt on yet. I just wasn’t ready for the action.

The story was alright, but it didn’t really hook me.  I could however see the potential. There was a solid base to build on and it was very easy to see.  However, I didn’t feel like this was a strong start. This volume felt like a proof of concept type of pitch for a comic or a pilot episode.  However, I suppose that is exactly what it was, but unfortunately that was pretty easy to see.

I liked the volume, but it was just missing that little something extra which I am sure the rest of the series has a ton of.  I will look out for other Mignola art comics because holy crap do I love his art.

If you are a fan of the Hellboy movies this is a must read.  However, I would also recommend to anyone who is a fan of horror comics.

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