Hellboy: Crooked Man (#1-3) (Dark Horse – Mignola / Corben)
In 1956, somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, Hellboy encounters Tom, a man who in his youth sold his soul to a backwoods demon known as the Crooked Man. Together they travel back into the dark heart of the Appalachian mountains to confront that demon and see if Tom’s soul can’t be saved.
Once again Mignola reminds us he has a genius for writing. He has this ability with minimal words to draw us into the story and make us care or at least be curious about the characters. It’s so effortless and natural. I’m not a Richard Corben fan, but if yer gonna tell a story set in deep, back woods of the Appalachian woods, I can’t think of better choice.
Of course Hellboy’s demeanor is an awesome anchor to any tale. The wisecracking is the least of it, his grumpy patience, and anticipatory annoyance. He’s seen it all, and can see it coming again. This makes even cliché’s like giant statues coming to life amusing (no giant statures in Crooked Man, but pick up the “In The Chapel Of Moloch” one-shot which is also an “A”), and unexpected events even more amusing.
The other strength of the Hellboy stories is the way they plumb and bring to life actual folklore. And he draws from legends from across the globe and eras. The franchise is just all around good, and has never had a weak book.
Even though I don’t like Corbin’s art, he is an awesome story teller and puts many younger artists to shame
Also, pick up “In the Chapel of Moloch” one shot out now, also, if you already haven’t.
Overall A. If you haven’t read these books, GO GET THESE BOOKS!