on 12 February 2005
For anyone who doesn't know Hellboy - imagine Sam Spade as a demon superhero investigating supernatural threats H.P. Lovecraft might have written and you're somewhere close.
Admittedly this is not the best of the Hellboy stories - Mike Mignola admits in an afterword that he lost control of the plot (the comic originally appeared monthly) - and if I were only marking the story I'd probably have wanted to give it 3.5 stars. Nonetheless, it is definitely worth reading with the trademark Hellboy mix of humour, action and horror, and the noir art as ever is wonderful (pushing it from 3.5 to a deserved 4).
A word of warning: although this is marked as vol.2 of the Hellboy series, there are stories in vol.3 'The Chained Coffin and Others' which precede 'Wake the Devil' chronologically.
on 23 October 2015
Is this as good as comics get?
Okay, perhaps that's hyperbolic – it's difficult not to rate Alan Moore's 'V for Vendetta' at the very top of the comic tree – but it's not much of an exaggeration.
Taking the superhero genre and giving it a sardonic new life in Hellboy, Mike Mignola created something quite different. The intermingling of history and folktales with modern fantasy gives the books a much darker feel than many other comics, while Mignola's artwork is just a delight to revel in: deceptively simple but incredibly evocative.
I've read others in this series, but the second volume really is top notch.
"Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction" pitted our devilish anti-hero against the evil Russian sorcerer Rasputin.
But that adventure is not the end of Hellboy's clashes with Rasputin. "Hellboy Volume 2: Wake the Devil" ups the ante, with plenty of horrific action and a more complex three-way storyline. And Hellboy himself gets to see a bit more of the nature he's determined to deny completely -- and a destiny he wants no part in. Poor guy.
The BPRD sends three squads out to to find an ancient vampire in Romania ("Paprika chicken, baby!"), and Hellboy finds himself working solo. But soon he runs afoul of a bunch of Nazis who serve Rasputin's spirit -- and a bunch of mythic creatures that lurk in the castle's depths, including the vampiric Giurescu and a bunch of savage giant birds, who serve a ghastly, immortal lamia in the depths of his castle.
Elsewhere, Abe is falling into a trap of Rasputin's (since he stabbed the guy to death), and Liz's powers run amuck when her team finds an alchemist's lab with a seemingly dead homunculus. And Hellboy's fight with the lamia has shocking repercussions, when he finds himself hurtling into a darkness where his true purpose is revealed -- and he must choose what his destiny will be.
Lamia, skeleton vampires, Baba Yaga and Nazi heads -- Mike Mignola knows how to craft a monster-filled universe, where a demonic anti-hero seems downright normal. And while the first two books about him are technically separate stories, "Wake the Devil" seems more like the second half of the story started in "Seed of Destruction." It's also graced with a more complex, gradually-unfolding plot that branches out in unexpected directions.
Mignola does leave some plot threads hanging (what happens with Liz and the homunculus?), but he knows how to pack the story with plenty of creepy moments, warped humour and gory violence. He also knows how to use dialogue for atmosphere as few authors can ("Witches, striges, vampir... ghosts come forth from their tombs..."), but also utilizes Hellboy's acid wit to lighten the mood ("Not gonna happen... 'cause you're very very ugly and YOU HAVE A GIANT SNAKE BODY!").
Hellboy himself is a classic anti-hero -- despite his red skin, bulky body and sawed-off horns, he's very human in attitude, with a good heart and unselfish outlook. After being attacked by the iron lamia he's faced by what the infernal players want to use him for, but his good heart won't have it. And his snappy wit ("Insolent beast! Troglodyte!" "Big talk for a guy with no pants") only makes him more lovable.
"Hellboy Volume 2: Wake the Devil" is a suitable sequel to the series' debut, and nicely rounds off the first arc of Hellboy's story.
on 12 September 2010
Wake the devil is a fun, well made graphic novel that stands as the second volume in the series.
What struck me first when reading this was how much seems to happen in 144 pages and I was really satisfied with Mignola's ability to pack so much action in. Pretty much from the start Hellboy is pitted against a robotically enhanced Nazi, a flesh eating zombie-thing, a powerful godess and the legendary five-hundred year-old vampire Guirescu, aswell as other mythical creatures.
This volume, as are all others, is held together with a cool, dark, gothic theme which sets a perfect mood for our monster hunting anti-hero and is exquisitely well drawn -the art being one of the things I find most enjoyable about reading Hellboy.
Compared to Volume 1 (seed of desctruction) I found Wake the Devil an even more enjoyable read, mainly due to the fact that it seemed to get to the point more -leaving more room for action and excitement- and went even deeper into his origin as he was forced to face his destiny. I also found that Wake the Devil made me laugh a few more times than Seed of Destruction did and that Hellboy seemed his proper wise-cracking self.
In my opinion, this Volume's only flaw (which nearly made me rate it 4 stars) was the way it was written- yes the plotline was fun and original and the story was exciting, but it still felt like Mike Mignola had been building up to the end of the book, developing the storyline in many (too many) different ways, and then hadn't really thought through how it would finish, giving it a very abrupt and somewhat dissapointing ending. This is not apparent in Mignola's shorter stories, which many say are better, but I do prefer the depth of longer ones.
I'd also like to note that, while many will know that the edition of Volume 1 in this series was poor quality (before I was half way through reading it, it had almost completely fallen apart) this is not the case for Volume 2, which for some unknown reason has remained in an absolutely perfect condition.
Anyway, this is an excellent comic overall and a fun read, whether you like the stylish gothic art, the ancient mythology or seeing a big red guy punch monsters with his giant rock fist.