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The Great Hellboy Re-Reading Project Part XIX: For Whom The Bell Tolls

December 28th, 2016
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And so, at last, we come to the end of my epic project to re-read Mike Mignola’s complete Hellboy saga!

Click here for part one, in which I discussed the very first Hellboy tale: the four-part mini-series Seed of Destruction.  Click here for part two, in which I discussed The Wolves of Saint August, The Corpse and the Iron Shoes, and Wake the Devil.  Click here for part three, in which I discussed a variety of Hellboy short stories including The Right Hand of Doom and Box Full of Evil.  Click here for part four, in which I discussed Hellboy’s last mission for the B.P.R.D.: Conquerer Worm.  Click here for part five, in which I discussed the beginning of a series of B.P.R.D. spin-offs and a whole new expansion of the Hellboy universe: Plague of Frogs.  Click here for part six, in which I discussed the major shift in the Hellboy story that took-place in The Third Wish and The Island.  Click here for part seven, in which I discussed the incredible B.P.R.D. mini-series that became the new central focus of the continuing Hellboy saga.  Click here for part eight, in which Hellboy finally returns to the spotlight with Darkness Calls.  Click here for part nine, in which the Hellboy universe expands with spin-off series focusing on Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and the founding of the B.P.R.D.  And click here for part ten, in which I discussed the “Scorched Earth” trilogy of B.P.R.D. mini-series that wrapped up the series to that point and began the “Hell on Earth” story-line. Click here for part eleven, in which I discussed the death of Hellboy in The Storm and The Fury.  Click here for part twelve, in which I discuss the new B.P.R.D. “Hell on Earth” story-line.  Click here for part thirteen, in which I discuss the game-changing B.P.R.D. mini-series The Return of the Master along with the beginning of Hellboy in Hell.  Click here for part fourteen, in which I discuss the beginning of the Abe Sapien ongoing series, as well as the great B.P.R.D. story The Lake of Fire.  Click here for part fifteen, in which I discuss new adventures of Sledgehammer 44, Witchfinder, Lobster Johnson, and Abe Sapien, as well as the epic B.P.R.D.story-line The Reign of the Black Flame.  Click here for part sixteen, in which I discuss Abe Sapien: Sacred Places and A Darkness So Great, B.P.R.D. Flesh and Stone, and the first Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. mini-series. Click here for part seventeen, in which I discuss Frankenstein: Underground and a variety of Abe Sapien and B.P.R.D. adventures.  Click here for part eighteen, in which I discuss B.P.R.D.: End of Days and the approaching conclusion to the “Hell on Earth” story-line.

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Abe Sapien #32-33: Regressions (2016) –– Abe returns to Professor Bruttenholm’s abandoned home in Brooklyn, NY (as seen in Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1!!).  Abe finds cassette tape recordings of regression hypnosis sessions the Professor had conducted on Abe decades earlier.  Abe (and we) discover that it was in these sessions that the Professor knew far more about Abe’s past than he had ever believed.  The Professor knew that he had once been a man named Langdon Caul, that he was involved with the Oannes Society after they broke off from the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, and that Abe had seen a vision of Oannes or some sort of sea-based god/creature (in Abe Sapien: The Drowning).  The Professor even knew that Caul had sailed for Cavendish, who was investigating the arctic because of his suspicions about a prehuman race.  So this is how the Professor first learned about the Cavendish family, who he would join on the ill-fated expedition that would cost him his life, as seen in Seed of Destruction #1!!  Wow!

As Abe continues to listen to Bruttenholm’s tapes in issue #33, we hear Bruttenholm attempt to hypnotize Caul (after already reaching Caul by hypnotizing Abe) and accesses a THIRD spirit within Abe.  Is this the sea-god creature that appeared when Caul touched the object (as seen in B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs #5) and that Abe himself glimpsed in Abe Sapien: The Drowning?  (Is that creature Oannes??)  We learn a lot more about the motivations of Caul and his fellows, while we see that Abe and Buttenholm together make the connection between Caul’s vision and what Abe saw in Saint Sebastien (an interesting moment that we never saw happen following the events of The Drowning).  Meanwhile, Gustov Strobl finally catches up to Abe and poor undead Vaughn is finally destroyed by Strobl for good.

Hellboy in Hell #9: The Spanish Bride (2016) — Hellboy encounters the demon he married in Mexico back in 1956.  This is a great moment in which the story comes full circle.  She reveals that when Hellboy was led down into Pandemonium to find Satan, alone and unguarded, that it was her, whispering in Hellboy’s ear, that led Hellboy to murder Satan.  I guess this is the answer to the big mystery of this Hellboy in Hell series.  It seems that Hellboy didn’t commit murder all on his own (though we don’t know exactly how this demon was able to compel HB to do so).  It’s a little anticlimactic but I guess this is as much resolution as we’re going to get to this particular story.  We also see that all the Lords of Hell have been killed or have fled due to Hellboy’s arrival in Hell, leaving all the lower demons and servants to alone.  Hell’s fire has gone out, and Hellboy’s unclaimed crown — something that Hellboy has been hearing about since the very beginning of this series over twenty years ago — has sunk into the sea.  I wonder what the end of Hell means for the world of the living??

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Hellboy in Hell #10: For Whom The Bell Tolls (2016) — This final issue of Hellboy in Hell is a gorgeous and enigmatic tale.  Having been told by the demon he married in issue #9 that, to start a new life, Hellboy must first finish his old one, we see Hellboy as a huge, fiery demon, striding across hell to smash and destroy all the remaining powers in Hell, the enormous sea-creature Leviathan and the beast Behemoth.  These almost wordless action sequences are astounding, gorgeously illustrated by Mr. Mignola.  In an interesting choice, Hellboy does not speak at all in this issue.  Rather, the events are narrated by the long-snouted demon we met in Hellboy in Hell #5, “The Three Gold Whips,” talking to his grandmother (who helped HB in that issue).  In a weird and funny bit of exposition, Mister Jenks and Mister Dean (the two guys making a map of Hell, as seen in Hellboy in Hell #6) pop up to share some exposition with the reader about Pluto.  Beelzebub and the surviving demons of Hell plan to wake Pluto, one of the original Watchers who created the Ogdru Jahad.  All the demons appear to be destroyed by Hellboy before they can carry out that plan, but I wonder if we will actually see Pluto somewhere down the road.

After seeing Hellboy appearing to have become the enormous and powerful Lord of Hell that many had long predicted we he would eventually turn into, I love the moment in which we see a familiar Hellboy moment (something the demon narrating fails to understand but that we readers recognize): Hellboy snapping off his horns.  In the final pages, Hellboy appears back to his old self, wearing a trenchcoat and smoking a cigarette.  In the wordless, mysterious final pages we see Hellboy walking through the deserted buildings of Hell, along the sea until he finds an empty house.  I have poured over these final pages many times, seeking meaning.  Whose house is that at the end?  is it Professor Bruttenholm’s?  Or is it Harry Middleton’s?  (Harry was Bruttenholm’s friend, recently seen as a young man in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953, and in whose house Hellboy stayed for a while at the beginning of Darkness Calls.)  Back in Hellboy in Hell #4, Sir Edward Grey remarks that “people are like houses” and then tells the story of the house of Angus Weir that was brought down to Hell (Acheron) and is now protected from all demons — is this the house where Hellboy winds up?  Os the house meant to be understood not as a literal house, but as a metaphor for Hellboy finding peace at last?  I learn towards the latter.  (And hope that future tales will give more clarity.)  (UPDATE as I prepare to publish this post that I wrote several weeks back: speculation on-line is that the house is Mike Mignola’s!!  Wild!)  Does Hellboy leave Hell at the end of the issue, or is he still there at the end?  Does Hell even still exist anymore after the events of this issue?  I am unsure.  We do see many white doves leaving Hell as HB walks away in those final pages – we’ve seen those doves before, in Hellboy in Hell #2, and then in #6 they were revealed as doomed souls from Hell who have finally chosen to repent their sins.  Their presence here in these final pages adds to the sense of optimism of this ending.

Then there are the three glowing shapes Hellboy sees inside the house on the issue’s final page.  These shapes, of course, are the shapes from the story The Magician and the Snake, collected in The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects.  I’d long thought that story was not meant to be in Hellboy continuity.  But the statues of the Magician and those shapes have popped up several times in this series, most notably in Hellboy in Hell #5.  I’m not exactly sure what it all means!!  It’s a fascinating left-hand turn here at the end of this series.

So is this meant to be the end of Hellboy’s story?  This issue sure seems designed to make us think that.  But remember, we’ve seen a photo of Hellboy back with the B.P.R.D. (and a transformed Abe) in Liz’s vision from back in B.P.R.D. King of Fear #4.  I haven’t forgotten about that, and I have long-believed that indicated that Hellboy would someday return to the world of the living.  Do I have things wrong?  My mind also keeps going back to Edward Grey’s comments from earlier in Hellboy in Hell that there were three more things at least that Hellboy was bound to do.  Have those all been done?  If this is the end of Hellboy, I hope we will learn the final fate of Edward Grey — is he damned, as suggested in Hellboy in Hell #4??  And what of the tantalizing hints from issue #3 that Hellboy’s father was still alive, and issue #2’s revelation that there was an army of Hell waiting to be controlled by the Right Hand of Doom?  Have those all been destroyed/drowned by the events of this final issue, or will these plot threads one day be picked up?

I eagerly await to find out.  If this is indeed the conclusion to Hellboy’s story, it’s been an incredible twenty-plus year saga.  What a ride.

And even if this is truly the end of Hellboy, there are still many stories yet to be told in his universe, with the many other characters from this vast story…

Abe Sapien #34: Dark and Terrible Deep (2016) — Abe Sapien swims to the place where Langdon Caul found the object that released the Oannes-spirit and transformed Caul into Abe.  There Abe meets Sonchin.  At first I thought this was a vision of Sonchin’s spirit, but at the end of the issue Sonchin says that there was enough of the Vril left in him that he could not die.  It’s crazy to have Abe actually meet Sonchin, this figure who has been glimpsed throughout the Hellboy saga.  (Though if Sonchin really is still alive, what the heck has he been doing all this time??)  Sonchin tells Abe a story about two Hyperboreans, followers of the Right-hand path (we’ve heard that before, referring to the noble Hyperboreans), who encountered a village of early man who had turned to the left-hand path, the worship of evil.  Tortured, one of the Hyperborean priests faltered and renounced his fate.  I think the implication is that was Sonchin!!  This is a stunning revelation.  Meanwhile, we see the other priest, who refused to embrace evil, is tortured to death — but he doesn’t die, he is transformed into the Oannes-sea spirit!!  We see the  creature destroy the evil-doers and then wrap itself up into a cocoon of some sort — which is what Langdon Caul would find centuries later!!  I am not sure I entirely understand how or why the Hyperborean priest transformed into this creature, that seems to be Oannes or some sort of creature connected to the sea — but it’s still very cool to finally see this moment and understand Sonchin’s connection to Abe.

Meanwhile, Gustav Strobl travels to Saint Sebastien (site of The Drowning) and also encounters the Oannes-spirit (just as Abe did back in The Drowning). (Is this the same one that Caul found that transformed him into Abe?  How many of these creatures are there?  Are these individual creatures or all aspects of the Oannes sea-god?  I have questions!!)  This Oannes creature transforms Strobl into an Abe-like fish-man hybrid (though I’m not sure exactly WHY the Oannes creature/spirit did this…)

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Abe Sapien #35: The Garden III (2016) — We begin with a lovely epilogue in which we see that Grace, who traveled with Abe for a while earlier in this Abe Sapien series, has found a happy ending for herself.  Meanwhile, Abe in a vision/dream meets Alice and discovers the new World Tree growing in England.  Alice describes her place in the shadow of the new World Tree as “one last piece of the old world,” but she sends Abe away, telling him that he has a destiny in the new world.  I remain intrigued by these continuing references to an old world/new world.  Where is the Mignolaverse story heading?  Are we going to see a true end come to our world (the “old” world)?  What will the “new world” look like??  Finally, the transformed Strobl encounters the mer-creature, daughter of the Bog Roosh (from way back in Hellboy: The Third Wish!!  Wow!!) and kills her, declaring that he plans to take his place alongside the Ogdru-Jahad at the end of the world.

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Abe Sapien #36: The Desolate Shore (2016) — Only a few months after the end of Hellboy in Hell, the Abe Sapien series also draws to a close with this final issue.  In an issue filled with flashbacks to different steps along Abe’s journey, Abe encounters and fights with the transformed Strobl.  Abe finally declares “I’m done running” and kills the Strobl creature.  The wounded Abe is picked up by a group of B.P.R.D. agents.  This was a solid issue but after following Abe and Strobl’s journeys throughout this thirty-six issue long series, I must admit to have being left with something of an anticlimactic “that’s it?” feeling reading this issue.  After so long building up Strobl as a villain, Abe dispatches him so easily.  I’d expected his defeat to prove far more challenging.  (I’d also thought the threat of Strobl might be what drove Abe to return to the B.P.R.D., with Strobl a villain only the assembled group could defeat together.  Guess not.)  I found the end of Abe’s personal journey to be a bit of a let-down.  I gather that this whole series has been about Abe’s learning to accept himself for what he is, to believe that he’s not connected to the Frogs, and to stop running from his destiny.  But since I as a reader already thought of Abe as a hero, and was already confident that he wasn’t one of the Frogs, this feels like a long way to get just back to where we started.  Maybe I’m missing something.  I guess this series was intended to represent something of a long, dark night of the soul for Abe, and I respect that as an interesting story-telling choice.  There has been some great stuff in this series.  I’ve particularly enjoyed all the characters we’ve met along the way, and the way this series has explored the effects of the world-shattering events that have been happening in the main B.P.R.D. series.  I am excited for Abe to finally reunite with the B.P.R.D. — I can’t wait to see where these stories go from here!

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Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown (2016) — In this fantastic three-issue mini-series, the Lobster tangles with giant metal robots wreaking havoc in Manhattan in 1936.  It’s easy to think of the Lobster Johnson series as being entirely separate from the main Hellboy/B.P.R.D. universe (the way Mr. Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Baltimore series is), but this mini-series reminds us that Lobster Johnson is a key piece of the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. backstory.  We get to see Zinco (up to no good as always) and learn the robots’ (awesome and surprising, but so perfect) connection to the huge Hyperborean robot/monsters that caused so much trouble all the way back in B.P.R.D. The Warning.

This mini-series is excellent, a rollicking pulp adventure that also has key Hellboy/B.P.R.D. plot-points and connections.  Tonci Zonjic’s art is perfection as usual.  I’m also very interested to note that this mini-series is set in May, 1936.  We’re starting to get very close to the events of The Iron Prometheus, which was set in 1937.  Although that was the first Lobster Johnson mini-series, it told what appears to be the last adventure of the Lobster.  (The subsequent Lobster mini-series and one-shots, beginning with 2012’s The Burning Hand, jumped back to 1932 and have been working their way forward ever since.)  I am excited for this series to catch up with The Iron Prometheus, and interested to see if we’ll see any adventure post-1937 that explore the fallout of the Lobster’s encounter with Memnan Saa on the other supporting characters.

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #143-147: Cometh the Hour (2016) — Following the conclusions of Hellboy in Hell and Abe Sapien, now it is the B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth series, a major chapter in the continuing Mignolaverse, that draws to a close with this incredible story.

As the story opens, the enormous Ogdru Jahad monster, that ancient evil beast, continues to wreak havoc across the globe.  Neither nuclear weapons nor the combined Vril super-powers of Liz and Johann appear able to stop it.

Meanwhile, we follow Johan’s visions of the previous inhabitant of the Vril-powered Sledgehammer armor he now wears.  The long-dead WWII soldier guides Johann to cease clinging onto his old life as a mortal human being and to embrace the infinite.

Panya and Iosif travel to Hell and see the abandoned city of Pandemonium (following the events of Hellboy in Hell #10, thus answering the question I posed above as to whether hell still existed following those events).  Panya retrieves the fly ring off of the body of the dead King Amdusias (thus, I believe, giving her power over what other demons of Hell survive), and also the knife that Hellboy used to kill Satan.  Panya then releases the Watchers, the fallen angels who, as we have learned from the stories over the years that explored the ancient history of the Mignolaverse, created the Ogdru Jahad at the dawn of time.  These Watchers have been imprisoned beneath Hell, but Panya unleashes them to destroy the Ogdru Jahad, giving us some incredible giants-versus-monster action in issues #145-146.  Shockingly, though, even these Angels are unable to defeat the Ogdru Jahad, and they are all destroyed.

As the globe seems to race towards armageddon, we lose quite a few main characters as this arc progresses.  Varvara murders Iosif, finally gaining her revenge for his long imprisonment of her.  And Kate and Panya are killed when the Ogdru Jahad destroys the BPRD’s Colorado HQ.  Panya’s death seems fitting, as the three thousand year-old mummy is ready for her long life to end.  (Though ever since her introduction I always felt that she was hiding some secret that was never revealed.  I am wondering if this is something that we will learn in a future story, or if I have been misreading this character since the beginning.)  Kate’s death is more confusing for me, as she seems to sacrifice herself for no real reason.  She seems to give in to despair at the end, which felt like an out-of-character turn for this strong, smart woman.  I am sad to see all of these characters go.

Then there is Johann, who also appears to be taken off the board in the series’ final issue, #147, as he finally lets go of his physical existence and embraces the infinite, using that power to annihilate the Ogdru Jahad.

All the issues of this arc have gorgeous covers that link together to form one larger image, illustrated by the amazing Duncan Fegredo.  These are incredible covers.  It’s great having Mr. Fegredo back in the Mignolaverse, even if only for these covers.

With the endings of Hellboy in Hell, Abe Sapien, and now the main B.P.R.D. series, I am left to wonder if we are nearing the end of Mike Mignola’s twenty-plus-years-long saga?  It feels that way.  On the other hand, as the epilogue of #147 makes clear, there is still a lot of story yet to tell.  Monsters still exist all over Earth (even if they are immobilized following the Ogdru Jahad’s destruction).  I long to see Abe and Liz’s reunion (Abe was on his way back to the B.P.R.D. at the end of his series), along with the hinted-at future reunion with Hellboy.  What is the state of the B.P.R.D. in this new world?  What is the state of the world?  What of all the prophecies and predictions that we have read of a New Race of Men taking over the world — is that yet to come or have our heroes staved off that future?  I have lots of questions that I hope future stories will answer.

Meanwhile, the past few months have seen the release of some new mini-series that continue to explore and expand the edges of the Hellboy universe:

Rise of the Black Flame (2016) — This five-issue mini-series, set in 1932, gives us the origin of the first Black Flame.  Page 1 of issue #1 is a phenomenal four-panel recap of the incarnations of the Black Flame that we have seen so far: Raimund Diestel, who tussled with Lobster Johnson in 1932 and Sledgehammer in 1944; Zinco president Landis Pope, who became the second Black Flame and fought the B.P.R.D. in 2006 back in B.P.R.D. The Black Flame; and the most-powerful version that was brought back to Earth in B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Return of the Master and that went on to devastate New York until finally being destroyed by Liz and Johann in “End of Days” (B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #139).

As usual, I love the twisty, almost backwards way that we have gradually learned the multi-generational history of the Black Flame.

I love the introduction of female paranormal investigator/fighter Sarah Jewell, and I’m intrigued to learn more about her adventures alongside Sir Edward Grey (who she humorously refers to as “Eddie”!!).  It’s awesome to learn that she too has fought against the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra.  I’m intrigued by her reference to parting ways with Edward Grey, so he could pursue the Heliopic Brotherhood to America (where, as we know from Hellboy in Hell, he will sadly meet a bad end) — has that already happened by the time of this 1923-set story?  I think it has.  (I wonder what the story is behind her cryptic reference to the one additional time that she saw Sir Grey after they parted company…)

Frankly, I love the entire ensemble of heroic characters introduced in this mini-series, and I’d love to see lots more of them all!  (Pity poor McAllister didn’t make it out alive…)

John Arcudi stepped away from the Mignolaverse with the end of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, but with this mini-series and Witchfinder: City of the Dead (which I will discuss in just a moment), new writer Chris Roberson clearly cements himself as a new chief architect of this continuing saga.

(At this writing, four of this mini-series’ five issues have been published.)

Witchfinder: City of the Dead (2016) — Artist Ben Stenbeck finally returns to the Witchfinder series with this terrific new five-issue mini-series.

I’m pleased to see the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra once again involved in this story, and it’s nice to see the events of the first Witchfinder series, In the Service of Angels, referred to.  In issue #2 we get to meet the head of the Heliopic Brotherhood, the woman Hefnut Trionis.  This character was first mentioned in Frankenstein Underground #3, and I had suspected that she would eventually enter the larger Mignolaverse story in a bigger way.  It was fun to see Sir Grey get to meet her in this story.

I almost fell out of my chair with excitement when Sir Edward Grey met the vampire Giurescu in issue #2.  I am thrilled that the long-running story of the vampire threat in the Mignolaverse is being returned to.  (I still hope to someday get a true conclusion to the vampire story begun in B.P.R.D. 1947 and B.P.R.D. Vampire…)

I was also super-excited when Sir Grey encountered Mohlomi, the elderly African man with the “ding ding” bell, first glimpsed way back in Hellboy: The Third Wish.  I did not expect Mohlomi to pop up in this story!  This is another wonderful Mignolaverse connection.

Mohlomi and Hefnut Trionis both want Sir Grey to defeat the danger of Giurescu and the Vampires, but as we know from the 1947-set B.P.R.D. stories, any victory Sir Grey achieves here in 1882 will not prove permanent.  (As I note that year, 1882, I will also comment that it’s fun to watch these Witchfinder miniseries eventually catch up to the year in which we know the main character will perish — exactly as the Lobster Johnson mini-series are doing.)

(At this writing, four of this mini-series’ five issues have been published.)

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun (2016) — In this fun two-issue story, Hellboy travels to the arctic to investigate a monster report.  It’s fun to see how Hellboy is now somewhat cocky after his early experiences in the field in 1952 and 1953, thinking he knows everything.  I loved the character beat of having the not-nearly-as-experienced-as-he-thinks-he-is Hellboy think that the monster in the arctic must be an animal mutated by Enkeladite, because that is what happened in his previous adventure in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953: Beyond the Fences.  But, of course, Hellboy has that wrong as he stumbles across what appears to be a crashed UFO.  The UFO is revealed to be the work of a group of Nazis who have been working to recreate alien technology.  This was a fun little story, though I wish it had lasted more than two-issues.  The wrap-up at the end of issue #2 was faster than I’d expected.

It’s super-fun to get to see Hellboy fight Nazis again, and I was delighted that while the UFO Hellboy finds in the Arctic is revealed to not actually be a UFO, this story DOES acknowledge the existence of alien life in the Mignolaverse.  We’ve seen aliens before, only a few times.  (Way way back in the very first Hellboy mini-series, Seed of Destruction, we saw in issue #4 what appeared to be an alien space station!!  Those aliens were monitoring the Ogdru Jahad, giving us the intriguing suggestion that the Ogdru Jahad were a menace to worlds beyond just our own.)  It’s fantastic to see aliens referred to here again, as this is a story-thread I’d love to see explored more in future stories.  (Update: Apparently a 2017 Mignolaverse mini-series is going to do just that!  I can’t wait!)

In issue #2, the head Nazi refers to what he calls “Shakti,” a “Black Flame” that is “almost the counterpoint to Vril.”  He mentions that the ancients could harvest Shakti through human sacrifice — which seems to be exactly what we have just seen happening in the Rise of the Black Flame mini-series!

I was also pleased when it’s revealed that Hellboy was able to travel from the Arctic to the Nazi base on the other side of the globe through hidden passages in the “Hollow Earth.”  (Hollow Earth is, of course, the title of the very first B.P.R.D. mini-series, and over the years we have seen that there is a lot going on deep within the Earth in the Mignolaverse…)

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: The Unreasoning Beast (2016) — I am loving these mini-series and one-shots exploring Hellboy’s early days in the B.P.R.D.!!  I hope they continue for a long time!  This one-shot isn’t a tale of much consequence (at least that’s how it seems now), but it’s still a fun yarn of a ghost or spirit spreading terror in suburbia.  I liked the twist of the story’s resolution.  I wonder if we’ll see this boy, Victor, again?  He’s taken into B.P.R.D. custody at the end, so that seems like a distinct possibility!  It’s fun seeing Agent Xiang and Hellboy working together in the field.  I like that pairing and I’ve enjoyed learning more about Agent Xiang in these recent Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. stories.  I am curious to see what fate awaits her (as she doesn’t seem to have appeared in any of the later-set Hellboy stories)…

And that, my friends, is that!  I can’t believe that this series of posts has stretched on so long.  It’s been great fun writing about this extraordinary universe created by Mike Mignola and his incredible array of collaborators.  I will probably continue writing, periodically, about Mr. Mignola’s Hellboy universe.  I feel that I’ve come this far, so why not continue to chronicle these stories as they continue to be published?

This vast array of series and mini-series and one-shots represents a high-point of comic-book story-telling, and extraordinarily engaging and detailed fantasy universe.  The world-building and attention to detail has been extraordinary.  This series rewards the attentive reader as there are fascinating connections to be found between what seem like completely distinct, separate stories, and often-times mysteries are left hanging for years, only to be resolved when you least expect it.  And, even better, the series is chock-full of wonderful, iconic characters who it is a joy to follow through these stories.

If you’re already a fan of Mike Mignola and Hellboy, then you know why I love this series so deeply. I hope you have enjoyed these blog posts.  And if you’re a newbie, then I encourage you to dive in with the first Hellboy story, Seed of Destruction, and then the great, classic Hellboy story Wake the Devil.  The early short story collections The Chained Coffin and Others and The Right Hand of Doom are spectacular.  At that point, I guarantee you’ll be hooked just as I was, and you will have years of incredibly enjoyable stories awaiting you.

The issues discussed in this post are collected in: Hellboy in Hell vol. 2: Death Card; Abe Sapien vol. 8: The Desolate Shore; and B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth vol 15: Cometh the Hour.  Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954 have not yet been collected.

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