Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea HC – Mike Mignola

5 out of 5

Mignola writing a story that isn’t a mish-mash of folklore, narrated without over-using prose and poem excerpts; Hellboy with actual dialogue beyond quips; creeps that require a bit more of a scuffle than just a few pages of BOOMs; an artist – Gary Gianni – who sticks to his own style and pacing instead of mimicking the house style…

While my readings of mid-to-late 00s era Hellboy and post-Hell on Earth Hellboy have shown to me what I consider poor examples of Mignola’s skillsets – with uncomfortable attempts at forcing internal and external myths together in the former and “why are we still telling these stories” exhaustion in the latter – something like the fairly recent 2017 Into the Silent Sea one-shot reminds me of why the book was so initially appealing, as well as cementing that there’s still potential magic here.  And really, it just boils down to fun, strong storytelling.  ‘Sea’ is a ghost ship tale (informed by Rime of the Ancient Mariner passages and, apparently, William Hope Hodgson) dotted with just enough Hellboy-lore and timeline references to ground it, but it’s otherwise completely standalone, and makes excellent use of HB as a knowledgable spook-investigator to work him in as a character and not just an observer.  Gary Gianni’s work is astounding, brightly enriched by Dave Stewart’s coloring – careful to not diminish Gianni’s linework, of course – and together our creatives producing something with a bit o’ humor, tons of monsters, exciting action, and a sense of beginning, middle, and end, packaged by Dark Horse in a slim lil’ HC.