It’s hard to go wrong with any book that showcases the genius of Mike Mignola. Whether you’re a fan or not, debating the man’s place in comic book history is pointless. He’s a mountain toppler, and that’s all there is to it. Hellboy was a gift that I – ironically – could have deemed delivered by God… of course, we know the truth. Hellboy is Mignola’s creation, and Hellboy truly does rank amongst the finest heroes (Hellboy is actually a genius character that sometimes rides a fine line between hero and antihero) we’ve ever seen. When you examine the entire character and his origin, he feels a little paradoxical, which says a lot for the character, because whether we feel we understand every wrinkle of his personality or not, we sure do love the red devil!
If you love Hellboy, you’re going to love Hellboy: Winter Special. We get a small handful of stories from this one, and not one of those stories comes across as anything less than top notch work. But the big standouts are quite clearly Wandering Souls and Mood Swings, two radically different but ultimately charming tales that resonate.
Wandering Souls, the second story in the book is a good old fashioned ghost tale that puts a Chinese tribe, once slaughtered, now haunting the land in search of their very own bones, at the forefront of things. It’s a quick but solid read that feels as though it could easily be transferred to animated film, a la Sword of Storms or Blood and Iron, and it comes complete with a vintage Hellboy slugfest. Excellent work delivered by the pitch-perfect trio of Mignola, Chris Roberson and Michael Walsh.
The other homerun in the book is delivered by writer Chelsea Cain and artist Michael Avon Oeming, who come together to explore the intricacies of the blossoming youth while pitting Hellboy against off-putting little parasites known as Snow Geists, wicked little critters that climb inside snowmen, transforming them into animated and murderous monstrosities. While the expected battle between Hellboy and the Snowmen is awesome, this one really appeals due to the human charm of the tale, and the exploration of the female youth. It’s more great work, and certainly reason to campaign for more future Hellboy work from both Cain and Oeming.
The simple fact of the matter is this: I could spend a few hours praising this book, or I can cut to the chase, dish out a confident 5-star rating and tell you to order it right here. It’s a mighty fine investment worthy of more than a single read.