Images © Mike Mignola.

I screwed up. I read Volume 9, “The Wild Hunt” before this one, which is Volume 8. And many story elements continue from 8 to 9. But honestly, I don’t think it harmed the reading experience of this one. In a few places I knew where the story was going, but in many others I did not, and enjoyed the surprises herein. Hellboy’s megastory is coming to a head in these volumes, with many of his past enemies coming together to torment him in one way or another. Here we have Baba Yaga, out for revenge (Hellboy took her eye), Koshchei the Deathless, Baba Yaga’s servant and invincible warrior. Then there’s Hecate, lots of witches, a witch hunter, a ghost girl, and more. Sheesh! Can Hellboy continue to soldier on and even crack wise in the face of such odds? You bet he can.

This is the first book with art by Duncan Fegredo, who slips into the role of Mignola artist almost seamlessly, yet without slavishly imitating him. It’s a great fit for both, I think. The one thing that bothered me a little is on this page: Hellboy’s weird metal hand looks too robotic. When Mignola draws it it seems more like part of Hellboy’s own body. That’s a very minor point though, overall, the art is great. And the coloring by Dave Stewart and lettering by Clem Robins are also terrific.

There’s nothing to keep this storyline from being the best Hellboy epic ever…except perhaps the next one! Great stuff, highly recommended.

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