Hellboy: The Storm (#1 – 3, HB #47 – 49) – Mike Mignola

4 out of 5

1. As they took a break in the middle of Wild Hunt, Mike and Duncan “built it into” the story this time by splitting the final arc into this, The Storm, and followup issues, The Fury.  …But it’s still one story, just with two titles, so the last issue isn’t so much a cliffhanger as it is clearly not a good stopping point.

2. Mike was masterfully stepping forth in a new direction with his lore, while dotting the way with well-handled past references… but couldn’t quite keep that going, and succumbed to internal HB mythology excessiveness (fair enough, a trademark of the series) in issue three.

But these are still pretty amazing issues, both in writing and art.  HB and Alice discuss what to do about this supposed army Big Red is to lead – as said army, formed of undead Arthurian soldiers, rises and gathers outside of the bar where our leads chat – as well as what to make of the impending threat of Nimue, and the words of Mab, and Morgan Le Fay.  While HB’s eventual decision regarding all of this is no surprise, Mike scripts a wonderful patter between he and Alice, and does – thank Christ – a legit RECAP of everything Hellboy has been through (instead of one line ya-had-to-be-there mentions) leading up to this, as acknowledgement of how much insanity it is.  Which humanizes Hellboy all the more: no shrugging it all off; no dismissiveness: he mentions the wackiness, and seems legitimately shocked by it.  These conversations are broken up by an excellent little fight sequence with a Nimue minion, before issue three lays out some details on who, exactly, is in control.

Fegredo’s art – while sitting rather oddly alongside the overly comic-booky lettered sound effects – has recentered from the Mignola mimicking he’d picked up.  This is now very much Duncan, taking over the book – usurping the house style and making it his own – and it looks dang awesome.

Definitely a thrilling following to Hunt, though I would’ve been okay just admitting the whole thing is called ‘The Storm and The Fury’ and letting us know there’d be a wait at the end of issue three.