Comic Book Reviews: Hellboy Vol.1

Summoned to earth during WWII to act as an agent of destruction, Hellboy winds up being raises by kindly professor. Now he must fight the destiny thrust upon him and save the world he was sent to destroy…

Hellboy Vol.1 : Seed of Destruction

  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics        
  • Writers: John Byrne, Mike Mignola
  • Artist: Mike Mignola
  • Genre: Horror/Urban Fantasy
  • Year: 1994

What’s it all about?

In 1944, a doomsday project (codename Ragna-Rok) was orchestrated by the Nazis. Their plan was to summon supernatural allies to turn the tides of WWII. Heading this operation is the legendary Russian psychic/sorcerer Grigori Rasputin a mysterious and powerful figure that is feared even by the top brass.
Rasputin however, has a hidden agenda – his plan is to help bring about the end of all existence by opening the gate for a cosmic horror called the Ogru Jahad. In order to unleash the monstrous Seven-which-are-one from their prison, Rasputin’s ritual summons a demon – the key to releasing them.
Things do not go as planned and the Nazis are defeated by a team of allied soldiers. Then a boy-like, red-skinned demon is found and adopted paranormal expert Professor Bruttenholm (pronounced “Broom”). Bruttenholm dubs the demon “Hellboy”, and raises him as a son. The professor is one of the founding members of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), and Hellboy becomes a paranormal investigator.

What happens next?
Bruttenholm is murdered by a mysterious frog-monster, so Hellboy beats the everlasting crap out of it. He then investigates his father’s murder with the help two of his colleagues – Liz Sherman (a pyrokinetic – she can create and control fire) and Abe Sapien (effectively a fish-man).

Rasputin needs Hellboy’s massive, stone-like hand to release the ancient evil, and stopping him means Hellboy will have to fight against his own destiny.
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Is it any good?
Well, the story is crafted very carefully, and the art is superb. Hellboy reads like Lovecraft pulp action. You can sit back and enjoy the fast-paced action or you can look deeply into the plot and the characters. There’s a lot to Hellboy, and you can examine it on any number or layers and still fully enjoy it.

Is there a movie? 
Yes, there are two, both directed by Guillermo del Toro. “Hellboy” in 2004 and the sequel “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” in 2008. The movies are pretty close to the source material but have their own plots and continuity. Both are worth watching. Oh, and the two animated moviesSword of Storms and Blood and Ironare also pretty cool.

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