Hellboy : The Midnight Circus
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus is a brief adventure in the life of little Hellboy. Unlike the bouncing and babblings of Lil Gotham, this is not really a tale geared towards children (unless you were raised by Tim Burton, in which case, please continue scaring the hell out of your young spawn).
This story is crafted by writercreator Mike Mignola, and in classic Mignola fashion, he manages to weave a tale that truly seems to flesh out and invigorate the Hellboy universe. Mignola manages to craft an oddly haunting tale from the lens of a young boy. The story is fairly sparse on text, entire pages sprawled out with only a handful of words, or even simply sounds, without losing the slightest beat of its haunting tone.
There are several writers who carve and craft the various beasties and baddies of the Hellboy universe, and though there is an abundance of talent adding to the mythos, none really seem to wrap their fingers in it quite like its originator. I love being dragged through the maddening landscape that is Mike Mignola’s perfectly broken brain.
The premise, a young demon from hell, entranced by the whimsy of the circus, and lulled into a sense of wonder and security. I think what is most endearing about the trials of young Hellboy, is that we know one day he will be a rough and tumble, cigar burning brawler. But in his youth, it seems miraculous that Hellboy would ever make it to adulthood, as he fumbles into trouble constantly, and manages to stumble out of it with equivalent grace. Much of his bumbling nature in his youth is retained in his adult form, and it feels a nuance that only Mignola would be able to weave and connect.
From the visual stance, artist Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart nail the world tone. The shadows and haggard physique of the universe ooze the otherworldly. The aesthetic expected of those who dabbled in the Hellboy universe is met, and masterfully imitated, while still resonating a style all its own. Fegredo seems to have a comfortable grasp of Mignola’s expectations, and executes each scene with haunting clarity, while Stewart’s color work infuses the classic shadowy world with a haunting allure.
Simply put, it's a fantastically crafted bit of art from page one to done. My only gripe is the work is terribly brief, weighing in at under sixty pages.
In summation, this is a wonderful addition to the Hellboy mythos, and in both literary tone and visual planescape, it melds perfectly. If you are a fan of the world, then I imagine this volume will be a welcome addition to your collection.
5 out of 5.