An advance review of the Hellboy spinoff!
Credits & Solicit Info:
In the hellish frontiers of the American Wild West, nineteenth-century occult investigator Edward Grey finds himself caught in a showdown with an evil witch, bloodthirsty criminals, and zombie cowboys!
EC Comics legend John Severin (Two-Fisted Tales) rejoins the Hellboy line after his stellar debut in B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs! Collects the five-issue miniseries.
* Cover art by Mike Mignola!
* John Severin's weirdest western yet!
"If I can recommend Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever for any reason, the biggest would be John Severin's art . . . an old master returning to the drawing board."
This is the good stuff, an occult western with fantastic art and a story that is deeper than it seems upon first reading. Nominally a spin-off from Mike Mignola's Hellboy, Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever is the second collection featuring Sir Edward Grey, a witchfinder in the service of the British crown. I read, and really liked, the first collection but I have to admit that this volume is very different from the dark gothic horror of that collection. Lost and Gone Forever is done in a very different style but it still holds to (and expands) the core of the main character.
The plot is straight out of 'Pulp Western Occult Detective Fiction 101'. (I didn't know there was such a class either, but the creators here have mastered it.) Edward Grey arrives in 1880 Utah, searching for a man on orders from the crown; the town is less than receptive to his inquiries. Grey, a cross between Solomon Kane's righteousness and Han Solo's recklessness, is rescued by local Morgan Kaler. Of course Kaler (and his friend Isaac, who we meet later) are more than they seem, and are as involved in the western occult as Grey is in his Victorian creepiness. The pair raise Grey's suspicions as much as they challenge his righteousness, as all of them become involved in a local occult mystery that seems to involve the man Grey needs to find.
This IS a pulp western occult mystery, so all is not what it seems, but the twists on the standard are really good and give the story a fresh spin. The resolution nicely dovetails with the challenges Kaler and Issac present to Grey's righteous attitudes, giving the story more resonance and depth than the basic plot might indicate.
The art is a real selling point, perfect for the western setting. Realistic and understated, the storytelling is masterful, the action beautifully handled. (A sequence with a zombie, a horse and a fire is particularly well done.) Even the coloring is a standout, as shading is used to highlight which characters the reader should pay attention to after Grey arrives in town. It's a nice touch.
Bottom Line: A perfectly executed occult western mystery that has depth beyond the basics, with beautiful art.
Review by: BD Montgomery, Outhouse Contributor