"Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Mike Mignola and Gary Gianni
Illustrated by Gary Gianni
Colored by Dave Stewart
2017, 56 Pages
Graphic Novel released on April 19th, 2017
Hellboy may be pushing up daisies, but that doesn't mean that his stories are all told. The character has a wide history and only pieces of it have been revealed. That leaves plenty of room to fill in the gaps with original graphic novels like Into the Silent Sea. This tales follows Hellboy into the water where he encounters a ghost ship complete with a spectral crew. The captain is focused entirely on tracking down a huge sea monster. Yes, this sounds a little like a paranormal Moby Dick.
Into the Silent Sea fits into a specific time in Hellboy's life. You can slate this in seamlessly while reading back issues. At one point, he actually recounts recent events. When condensed into just a few panels, you realize how crazy his day-to-day world can be.
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The book takes a little while to get going. Hellboy is actually in chains for the bulk of the story. It doesn't deter from the usual dread that comes with a Hellboy book. That comes through in droves as the mysterious ship continues on its journey and Big Red meets the assorted crewmen, learning of their quest. Everything about it is just so creepy. You have to wonder how he's going to get out of this.
Gary Gianni's artwork is exquisite. There is some incredible line work on display, especially with elements like the ship itself. There are what look like hundreds and hundreds of lines outlining the individual boards in its hull. There's one particular page early on with a large shot of the ship as Hellboy approaches. Fog swirls around it in an impressively and finely detailed. It makes the vessel look ancient and dead, which is rather fitting.
Somehow, much of this foreboding is carried into the daytime scenes. Of course, colorist Dave Stewart provides that signature tone of Hellboy books for the pages set under the cover of darkness. When the sun is out, you really understand the feeling of just how alone these people are out on the high seas. There is no sign of any other ship or land as far as the eye can see. You can practically feel the sun beating down on Hellboy's red skin.
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Of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if Hellboy didn't get to punch something. Don't worry. He gets out of those chains sooner or later and he throws more than his fair share of punches. The climax pops up rather quickly, going from zero to sixty in just a couple pages. Before you know it, there's an all-out battle aboard the ship with all sorts of creatures. Gianni really shines here, with a wide assortment of beasts crawling up from the depths. The coup de grace comes in the form of the monster the captain had been chasing. It is a swirling form of darkness, muscle, and tentacles. This is the kind of thing you might imagine lurking deep under the sea where no human has ever been. It's unnatural and awesome in the truest sense of the word.
Into the Silent Sea is a worthy addition to the world of Hellboy. Of course, any new Hellboy is good Hellboy. This is a rather quick read, spending most of the time talking about monsters before quickly jumping to fighting them. The artwork is absolutely incredible. It's something you may find yourself studying, picking out all the little details in each and every panel.