Brad's Reviews > Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction

Hellboy, Vol. 1 by Mike Mignola
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Apr 14, 2010

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bookshelves: fantasy, adventure, better-as-a-movie, comic-books, graphic-novel, sci-fantasy
Recommended for: comic book fans
Read in April, 2010 , read count: 3

I am a man who loves good comic books, and Mike Mignola's Hellboy is exactly that. Good.

It's a solid comic yarn with a charmingly antithetical leading man, fitting pencils, beautiful colour and noirish scripting (helped on by John Byrne in this early volume).

Mike Mignola loves a great action sequence, and Hellboy's big ol' "Right Hand of Doom" and terrible aim with "The Good Samaritan" -- the oversized revolver the eponymous leading man received as a gift from the Torch of Liberty -- ensure that melee style action and battle are at the heart of the pulpy jewel that is Hellboy.

But if you're looking for literary or thematic depth, if you want some philosophy or politics with your graphics, Hellboy isn't for you. It is clever and fun, but not much else. The villains are Nazis and Black Wizards (like Rasputin) and Demons, which doesn't leave much room for ethical debate. The heroes are not complicated, although Mignola tries to pretend they are (consider Professor Bruttenholm's miraculous child rearing skills, which allow him to nurture the demon out of Anung Un Rama. Fun and clever, once again, but too silly to be truly complicated). And the relationships between the main characters are boringly familiar archetypes.

I don't say any of this as criticism, however. I think Mignola's dedication to pulpy goodness is admirable. I don't want all my graphic novels to be Watchmen or Sandman. Just like I don't want all my novels to be Moby Dick or Sound and the Fury.

When I want some fun, some synapse relaxation, I am more than happy to pick up Hellboy and chill. It's the summer blockbuster of the comic book world (its film manifestations, moreover, are damn fine cinematic popcorn fare ), and there is something to be said for plain old entertainment -- no matter the form.

So pick up Hellboy Seed of Destruction when you've got an itch for fun, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Plus, if you're looking for a quick fix without diving into the story proper, this edition offers two mini-adventure Easter eggs, written and penciled as intros to the Hellboy character. A junkyard dog turns into Anubis, a floating Nazi head and a talking Gorilla scientist torture a beautiful woman, and Hellboy saves the day -- quick and dirty like.

If Hellboy is demon hero-lite, these mini-adventures are demon hero-fat free. And heart smart Hellboy is the perfect way to fill any random couple of minutes where you're hankering for a comic book break.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Eh, fair assestment. I'd like to see what you would think for rest of the series. The first volume is more text heavy than later ones. I think they (the later volumes) are better told stories than the first, but you might find them lacking even more in the depth department.


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