Hellboy; The Wild Hunt (Dark Horse – Mignola / Fegredo)
When ancient giants begin to rise from their graves across England, Hellboy is invited to join a mysterious group called the Wild Hunt and help bring them down. But the hunt leads to betrayal, and Hellboy finds himself up against enemies as angry about what he is as what he’s done. “The fading children of the earth” gather in the shadows, waiting for the promised return of the Queen of Blood, and a chance to once again “shake the trees, crack mountains, and make the daytime world weep in fear.”
It was hard to think of an heir for Mignola when he was talking about relinquishing the art reins on Hellboy. I am amazed by Guy Davis’ speed and story telling on BPRD, but he’s not my favorite artist, and not my idea of an heir apparent.
And I’ll say Duncan Fegredo never came to mind, while discussing an heir with folks, and yet I think he may be a better Hellboy artist than Mignola, that’s how good a choice it was. I hadn’t noticed it before, but going back and looking at Fegredo’s earlier work, you can totally see hints of similarities in the art styles. I really like that Fegredo has toned down the detail a smidge to accommodate the simpler Mignola style, and I like the little bits of extra detail Fegredo adds that is missing from Mignola’s style. This is the kind of collaboration, that you wouldn’t expect work, but ends up balancing out perfectly well. Both artists were A-list artist before, but the amalgamation is exciting and brilliant in it’s own way. They are the Recess Peanut Butter Cups of the comic world. Two great tastes that tastes great together.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say Dave Stewart’s colors play an important role in the look and feel of these books. The colors are outstanding, conveying so much more in a plain simple palette than so many of his over computerized, texturized contemporaries. Dave Stewart is the veteran pitcher on the mound who clocks the angry young rookie charging the mound. He’s everything a colorist should be.
Oh, and the story? That. That was never a question. Mignola just has that touch. He simply knows how to write a story, how to pick out the exact right details, how to say things the exact right way. Like breathing. His new story arcs, while obvious stylistic continuations, always find some new fresh bent. The Wild Hunt does not disappoint in this respect. He once again manages to make the story engaging and compelling. Mignola’s stories are stylistically more like poems than stories (big masculine poems). Everything precise and simple, but don’t let the simplicity mislead you. The images and story telling are all loaded, well thought out, evoking a spooky aura of deeper meaning. It has a great overall effect.
I was blathering about Walking Dead’s 5 years of continual goodness, and here’s Hellboy who has also had a long run (more than 5 years, but about 5 years worth of issues) and this series has never faltered. It should be considered an industry standard.
If you’re not or haven’t read or been reading Hellboy, you are doing yourself a disservice.
This is one of the best comic series of the last 10 years. A true heir apparent to the great newstrips comics evolved from or along with. In fact, I’d say due to it’s longevity, it is probably the best over all series of the last 10 years. And you’re missing out if you’re not reading it.
Start with the trades, plod through John Byrne’s writing in the first two minis (the stories are still good) then sit back and enjoy the ride and the characters, the villain, the folklore.
You’ll be happy you did. And you’ll be so much more satisfied than with the current Main stream fare out there.