Hellboy: The Bride Of Hell - 'The Bride Of Hell' - Mignola and Corben
Story - For reasons that are unknown even to myself, I've never read a Hellboy comic before this one here. I don't understand why that is, I like the movies, I like Mignola's art, there is no good reason for me to not have read Hellboy before in my life. But there it is, no Hellboy until now. So what did I think of this one-shot?
It was OK.
Just OK, there were some good ideas present here, and I liked how it played with perceptions of good and evil, but there was too much exposition, and there was nothing here that set the book apart from anything else. I understand this is part of Dark Horse's one-shot initiative to pick up readers who are bored with Crossovers at bigger companies, but I can't help that feel this might have needed more substance to hook these disillusioned superhero fans, this just seemed like a normal superhero story, albeit with a bit more research put into the mystical mumbo-jumbo. From what I've read Mignola is playing with some truly epic mythology in the book's main plots, and that would have been more useful here, rather than a big red dude punching a monster.
Because that's basically what this issue is, an American tourist has gone missing, and Hellboy tries to save her from a big monster. I was kind of disappointed that this was just Hellboy, and that Abe Sapien or that Pyrokinetic character weren't involved, I like Abe Sapien a lot from the movies.
You can't fault Mignola for his love of mythology, it fuels the whole book, but over half of this issue was taken up by exposition about the history of this monster, of warring groups of Knights, of King Solomon, and it was just a bit too much, I'd prefer some more action and characterisation from Hellboy himself (who only has like 10 lines of dialogue) in a one-shot designed to make me go back and make an expensive commitment to an entire library of trades.
That said, the way Mignola switched it around in the end, with the Monster being innocent, and the kindly priest being evil was pretty clever, and played with my idea of which side of good and evil each religion is, in Western society, you tend to automatically assume anything Christian is right and good, but it's not necessarily true, Christians have done some shitty things, such as murdering a Monster's wives!
This was an OK issue, there were some interesting ideas, but Mignola spent too much time teaching us about Mythology, and not enough time actually writing his title character. It may be a brief respite from Dark Reign and Blackest Night fever, but afterwards, I felt like I needed something a bit more substantial (So I read Dark Avengers #12).
Art - Richard Corben is an artistic legend, and rightly so, his blocky style is unique, and perfectly suited for the dark, horror tone of a Hellboy series. One thing I found interesting was that he rendered much of the book in his own style, but Hellboy looked much more Mignola-esque, which is only appropriate. While I'd rather see Mike Mignola write and draw his stories, Corben is a more than adequate substitute.
Best Line - 'This is just the kind of crap gives people nightmares'