About the Author:
As well as writing comic books, Michael Mignola worked as a production designer on Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire and as a visual consultant for Director Guillermo Del Toro on Blade II and the movie version of Hellboy. He lives in southern California, USA with his wife, daughter and cat.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
Hellboy: Wake The Devil
(Art by Mike Mignola)
The second volume of the series sees Hellboy and the BPRD set off to Romania where they hope to prevent the vampire Vladimir Giurescu from being resurrected by Nazi occultists.
At this point Hellboy is well-known enough that you should have a sense of what the story on offer here is; a mixture of the gothic horror and superhero genres. For me, this was the first actual Hellboy graphic novel I've read (my previous experience with the character is entirely Guillermo Del Toro's movies) and I was impressed by how respectful Mignola is of the mythology he's tapping into. Some pop-culture mediums like to lift the specifics of mythology for the sake of spectacle, without considering the context and tone, but here you get a genuine sense that the writer has a passion for what he's borrowing from. In fact, he even dedicates this book to Dracula and you can tell it's Bram Stoker's original version he's clearly inspired by. There's also near-flawless mixing together of different mythologies such as Greek, Norse and Slavic which never feels like a cheap mash-up.
The one big downside for me here was that some elements of the book reference things that happen in volume one and others that clearly set up situations to be resolved in subsequent volumes. That's nothing untoward if you're the kind of person who'll read an entire run of comics/graphic novels, but personally, I like to dabble (hence this being the first Hellboy book I've read). The fact that a lot of bits of the book only make sense in the context of the larger series did take the edge off my reading experience a bit.
Of course, it's worth reading this book if only for Mignola's stylised and brilliantly atmospheric artwork.
4 out of 5