Author: Mike Mignola & John Byrne
Publisher: Dark Horse
With Hellboy 2: The Golden Army released and considering my fascination with the story and characters, the universe has decided to grant me the pleasure of reading the first volumes of the comic book series. Carl V. from "Stainless Steel Droppings" has been generous enough to send me these with no strings attached. To understand why I am so behind on my comic book readings I would have to explain that in Eastern Europe the comic book market is in its developing stages and the best you can get are Spiderman, Spawn and the Avengers, which I have spotted after their initial issues and would be senseless to collect.
There are certain aspects of the series, which set it apart from the other superhero comic books and for me the biggest is the art. Mike Mignola is an entity of different proportions. At first the rough, edgy, murky designs for his characters left me a bit skeptical since Michael Turner has been most influential for me. My major passion lay with human bodies driven to perfection, clean lines, visible details and bright colors. What Mike Mignola does is on the polar side. Illustrations resemble dark visions through a murky looking glass. Characters usually come as rough outlines of people with no constant shapes or details. It all depends on the angle and on the shading, of which Mignola seems fond. Tones are usually dark and the constant shadowing creates a macabre atmosphere. In one word the desired effect is gritty and that what it is. From another aspect I love how the style is in sync with the spirit of the world and characters. Hellboy and his crew are the weirdoes of superhero mythos. They aren’t perfect. They have their flaws. Some are even from a different species. To top it off they have to fight the paranormal world and not often is everything neat and clean.
”Seed of Destruction” revolves around a polar expedition, which brought the death to Professor Trevor Bruttenholm aka Hellboy’s father by a humanoid frog creature. The team from B.P.R.D (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) pays a visit to the birth house of the Cavendish boys, who have been participants in the expedition. The house, which slowly sinks into the surrounding waters of the lake around it, has been rumored to suffer from a curse, since all the men in the family have died trying to reach the top of the world never to return.
Mystery shrouds the family history and Lady Emma Cavendish seems a bit too secretive, but soon violence replaces the Q&A of the team. Liz Sherman becomes the catalyst and infinite energy supply for a mad sorcerer, who plans to awaken “The Seven”, bound gods in an other dimension to bring destruction to Earth. Abe Sapien has an encounter with a long lost ancestor from the Cavendish family, while exploring the lower sunken levels of the house. All the while Hellboy has encountered another amphibian like monster, who turned out to be one of the expedition participants. The danger of an apocalypse is quite near and in between, interesting tidbits about Hellboy’s origins and mission on Earth are revealed. If anyone has watched the first movie, then they will recognize the plot line, on which it was based.
The issue features a retrospect into the last stages of WW2 prior to Hitler’s downfall and the summoning of Hellboy. Bonus pages come in the form of the first sketches developing Hellboy as a character and the first arcs he has appeared ever. The preword by Mike Mignola is also something interesting to behold as the points raised in defending comic book art style and its popularization, becoming a popular style with its techniques used in other fields as well. Not to mention that this volume won two awards in 1995 for “Best Writer/Artist” for Mike Mignola and “Best Graphic Album: Reprint”.