"Hellboy in Hell Volume 1: The Descent" Trade Paperback Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Originally published as Hellboy in Hell #1 - #5
Written and illustrated by Mike Mignola
2012-2013, 152 pages
Kindle eBook released on May 14th, 2014 | Trade paperback released on June 3rd, 2014
Following the events of The Storm and the Furywherein Hellboy sacrificed himself (and Great Britain), Hellboy is cast into Hell, where he finds a throne awaiting him, but not a throne he willingly wants to take. Mike Mignola is back at the helm to take Hellboy on a journey through a very strange and startlingly personal hell. In it, Hellboy finds himself confronted by a few familiar faces and a legacy that lays bare more of his past's secrets.
The best part of reading any of Hellboy's exploits is how clearly you can hear the resigned sarcasm of Ron Perlman's take on the character in your head. This feels like more of the same that fans have come to love of the Hellboy comics. It has the same look and feel and style, but expands the mythos beyond anything we've known before. It's a great story about a reluctant hero. He is just as reluctant to be good as he is to be bad. He is given the option to reign over Hell in his father's stead, but holds on to his humanity enough to not want the job. And although other family would give their right hands (to take his) for the job, he's not going to let them do it either. Volume 1 of the series is a great prelude of things to come. It's world-building at its finest, without the unnecessary extrapolation and often convoluted expository ramblings. The Descent assumes readers have some foreknowledge, but gives some insights and clarity for those who have only casually perused past titles or seen the movies. It's a fantastically fantastical story that delves deeper into Hellboy's motivations and heart. He is a deeply conflicted character. Born to rule in Hell, raised to save humanity. It's a deep rift that he hasn't fully come to terms with.
This volume sets up some serious expectations for the second that, if paid out, will be an incredible run. With Mignola at the helm, you get the character at his best, lovingly defined by his creator. The artwork is beautiful and eerie at the same time. It's a Hell you've never really seen before filled with fully realized characters and vision. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who's ever been a fan. Pre-orders are available now. If you've not kept up with the new series, now's a perfect time to jump back on board.