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The stories here are from 2003-8 and 2010-11, and were originally collected in paperback as `The Crooked Man' and `The Troll Witch'. There is the usual gallery of sketches and variant covers.

This volume appears to be marking time in the Hellboy saga. The stories are mainly short, unconnected ones. The longest is The Crooked man, at 72 pages. This represents the period when the author was working on the Hellboy film, and launching the B.P.R.D. ongoing series - see B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Hardcover Collection Volume 1, and so didn't have time to devote to moving the character forward. We also see here other artists and writers taking on Hellboy; Richard Corben and P. Craig Russell being two of them. The Introduction and Afterword refer to reprinting the next major story - The Island - in volumes 5 and 6, so we have a big step to look forward to in the future. However, this is still another excellent volume in this series.
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on 29 July 2011
It hardly needs to be said, but this is a beautiful book. A bit too big to easily find a comfortable way to read, but it more than makes up for it in quality. As someone who hasn't read these stories before - I had read a couple of the trade paperbacks before they started publishing the library volumes but since then I've been waiting for these instead - it's an amazing way to discover them for the first time.
The stories contained within certainly deserve the treatment they're getting with these volumes. The plots of the stories may not always be very complex, there seem to be few problems which cannot be solved by Hellboy punching something, but the stories still manage to fascinate. It's the mood that they evoke that draws me in again and again. They have the feel of old folk tales told for a modern audience, with dashes of Lovecraft.
Speaking of mood, the art is of course excellent and the main reason to get these oversized volumes. I didn't start out as a particular fan of Mignola's style but it has grown on me over time. This is a book full of shadows that somehow feel more alive than the most lifelike illustration.
In short, buy this book. It's hard to imagine getting better value for money, and story-wise there's nothing else out there quite like Hellboy.
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on 26 November 2013
He loves it! Says it is a bit more gritty than the previous one but still worth every penny! Excellent quality of book as always!
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on 28 June 2015
Love the quality feel of this production, together with the great Mignola artwork & storeys really why wouldn't you buy this.
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on 4 March 2016
10/10
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