Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish (#53) – Mike Mignola

3 out of 5

This is certainly an HB tale written for artist Kevin Nowlan’s strengths, and it should be a classic – a rollicking bit of nonsense involving cow mutants and alien kidnappers – but something about it never quite lands.  Hellboy’s stock-in-trade at the start was something of a schlocky Weird Adventures; when Mignola started crafting larger stories, more history and folklore got mixed in, and we had this travelogue of demonology.  It could be serious or quirky, but the magic was how synonymous the overall storytelling was – despite the tone – and how the concept wrapped easily around even the most inane fairytales.  Buster Oakley Gets His Wish, meanwhile, feels more like quirk for quirk’s sake, trading on the HB punch-a-lot identity and leaning into the knowledge that Nowlan has a great sense of comedic timing with oddball characters to drum up something without much weight or consequence.  Is it entertaining?  You betcha.  But it’s very, very ephemeral; forgotten as soon as one closes the cover.