Friday, March 21, 2014

I Reads You Review: HELLBOY: Seed of Destruction #1

DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

STORY/ART: Mike Mignola
SCRIPT:  John Byrne
COLORS: Mark Chiarello
COVER: Mike Mignola
32pp, Color, $2.50 U.S. $3.40 CAN (March 1994)

Hellboy is a superhero and horror comic book character created by writer-artist Mike Mignola.  The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (cover date: August 1993).  My how time has passed, because it is now the 20th anniversary of the first Hellboy comic book series, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction.  This four-issue miniseries is plotted and drawn by Mignola and scripted by John Byrne (who would script all four issues of Seed of Destruction).

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 opens on December 23, 1944 in East Bromwich, England.  The story is first narrated by 1st Sgt. George Whitman.  He is part of a special Ranger unit waiting out what is supposed to be a paranormal event related to the Nazi’s “Project Ragna Rok.”  Besides the military, World War II-era American superhero, the Torch of Liberty, is present.  Probably the three most important people in attendance are Professor Malcolm Frost, Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones (England’s top medium), and Trevor Bruttenholm (pronounced “Broom”).

Meanwhile, far to the north, on a tiny island just off the Scottish coast, a special group of Nazis are invoking and conjuring.  The result is Hellboy.  Fifty years later, Bruttenholm senses impending Doom, and Hellboy ain’t a boy anymore.

I have not read Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 since I read it in trade paperback form ages ago.  When I was reminded that this was a Hellboy anniversary, I decided to dig up my copy (which is surprisingly signed by John Byrne).  It is still a blast.  Hellboy: Seed of Destruction may not ever make any “greatest comic books of all time” lists, but it should.  This was and remains an exceptional and unique comic book.  I feel positively giddy about it.

Mignola’s moody gothic art would have made H.P. Lovecraft shiver with ecstasy.  This is Lovecraft’s fiction brought to life in way that honors the original and simultaneously takes it new places.  Mark Chiarello’s coloring does wonders creating horror comics art that is, simply put, pretty.  The coloring on the cover is garish, but in a kitschy beautiful way.  John Byrne’s script makes everything clear, informing the reader without spoiling the mystery or the sense of mystery.

Wow!  I had forgotten how good Hellboy: Seed of Destruction is.

[This comic book contains a back-up comic, “Who Are Monkeyman and O’Brien?” written and drawn by Art Adams, lettered by L. Lois Buhalis, and colored by Matt Hollingsworth.]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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