Modern Day Dante; Hellboy In Hell: The Descent


cover45892-smallThere are certain iconic figures in comics that I cannot look away from. Mike Mignolia has made Hellboy one of these for me. With his giant fist and snarky, humanesque attitude, the part-demon creature fights for humanity and those he loves. As Hellboy in Hell: The Descent begins, our hero is, well, in Hell. A mysterious shadowy figure leads our giant red hero through a series of trials, not unlike Dante in the Divine Comedy. Hellboy battles demons, creatures, and his origin. The book examines the past of BRPD and even where Hellboy’s trademark arm comes from.

What delightfully surprised me in this book was the amount of literary references. Mike Mignolia drops references to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol and several others.  Mike Mignolia’s art, as always is pure atmospheric joy. The stark lines, deep reds, blues, greens and blacks, swirl together to create a vision of hell that is both startling and beautiful. Dave Stewart’s color work keeps the whole package together and keeps the reader unable to look away from Mignolia’s line work.  Included in the collection is a sketch book of his creations, as well as brief descriptions of what they are or represent. The behind the scenes look was a special touch.

Hellboy is not a comic for everyone. There is no triumphant hero in patriotic colors, holding up a flag of choice. Not everything ties up in a beautiful bow and people do die. However, Hellboy is worth the experience. It is worth spending time looking at the distinct lines of Mignolia’s signature style. I highly recommend Hellboy in Hell: The Descent.

Hellboy In Hell is available now from Dark Horse Press.


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