Pulp Corner: Hellboy – Seeds Of Destruction
I’m wrong about a lot of things. Sometimes I won’t give something a chance based on some strange pre conceived notion I had. Hellboy definitely falls into that camp.
I don’t have a clue what I thought Hellboy was about, but I remember seeing previews for the movie when it came out and I guess I thought it was some kind of weird Van Hesling type character that hunted beasts. That all changed when I saw this picture.
I asked Martian Luthor Kang what it was from and when he said Hellboy my jaw dropped. I told him I didn’t know anything about the series and he followed that up with saying that it was more Indiana Jones than it had a right to be. Once I heard that I sought out the first trade immediately.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Seeds Of Destruction focuses on Hellboy’s origin, which is brief and then moves on to the rest of the story. During WWII Hitler organized a summoning with the Russian psychic Rasputin and some kind of supernatural entity which would aid the Nazi party. (I’d say there’s a Raiders Of The Lost Ark similarity right there, but the truth of the matter is Hitler had a supreme interest in the occult and supernatural. He believed that it could be used to his advantage of world domination). The U.S. Army under guidance of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development (B.P.R.D.) were stationed in a ruined church in England where they believed the Nazis would be performing the ceremony.
Turns out they were half right. While the summoning ceremony clearly did not occur there, something was summoned. A small devilish boy with red skin appeared in England with one regular hand and one massive stone hand. He was given the unfortunate name of Hellboy (which stuck) and kept in the possession of the B.P.R.D. where he was raised by Trevor Bruttenholm.
The story shifts into what is then present day (1994) but you wouldn’t know it. Hell, if it didn’t make mention to it in the text I would have guessed it was maybe 10 or 15 years later. There is no real indicator as far as look and aesthetic. Bruttenholm had just returned from a 2 year Arctic Circle expedition where he found a cave that had a statue of a man and crazy tentacled beast. He touched the statue but afterward remembered nothing, not even how he returned home. Mid conversation a strange plague of frogs storms his office and he loses his shit. Hellboy then find a large frog like creature who stands upright stalking their locale and proceeds to try and get answers but ultimately bashes his brains in. Only when he’s done does he find Bruttenholm’s lifeless corpse. It’s covered by a series of strange holes.
Hellboy and the rest of the B.P.R.D. consisting of Abe Sapien an amphibian creature and Liz Sherman a human with fire summoning skills are dispatched to the old Cavendish Victorian home to investigate. Two of her sons traveled with Bruttenholm to the Arctic so they hope they can provide some answers. What the B.P.R.D. find is that her sons both died on the expedition.
What follows is a dark and twisted story. The mystery is honestly not that impressive, but it doesn’t matter. The story is good and it’s weird enough to work. A throw back to the classic pulp style adventures with a horror/occult backdrop and unique and original characters. Mark Mignola drew and wrote the miniseries with scripting help from John Byrne. The art is interesting, it’s clean but also blocky in a way. Color wise though it’s a very dark book. Throughout, it’s either perpetually night time or they are in a dark, dark pit. It totally works for this book and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. It’s gotten me sufficiently interested in reading both more Hellboy as well as the B.P.R.D. ongoing series. So, I’d say this miniseries did exactly what it was designed to do.
Well played Mignola, well played.
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Posted on August 2, 2013, in COMICS!, Features, Pulp Corner, Reviews and tagged B.P.R.D., Dark Horse, Hellboy, John Byrne, Mignolaverse, Mike Mignola, Occult, Pulp. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.