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on 20 September 2017
Arrived on time, and content was as expected..
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on 15 August 2017
great art work
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 January 2017
The four issue Hellboy mini-series "Seed of Destruction" came out over the course of 1994. Those four issues were ultimately collected and released in hardback and paperback omnibus form, but those omnibus editions are hard to find and pricey. Now, (or at least as of the date of this review), each of the four comics, which were reissued by the publisher in 2015, is available as a Kindle download. (Note, though, that Amazon has confused Issue #1 of the 4, and Volume #1, which collects the four issues. Check page length to make sure you're ordering what you want. Reviews for both books are on the same product page, so they won't help you.)

This is where it all started. We begin with a flashback intro to the Hellboy origin story. That's about half of this first comic. Then we set up the ongoing story. It's fifty years later and the last survivor from the original Hellboy discovery team, Hellboy's beloved Dr. Bruttenholm, (aka "Broom"), is telling Hellboy about a tragic and doomed expedition to the Arctic in search of some ancient, mystic artifacts. At that point everything hits the fan and we're off to the races. NO SPOILERS, but over the course of the four issues we have vampire frogs, a creepy mansion on a dead lake, a creepy family, tentacles, curses, an evil villain set on world domination, and a vaguely Lovecraftian feel that works well enough for this opening frame. On top of that we are introduced to Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman and the BPRD, and we get a little more on Hellboy's Nazi occultist backstory, so this really does set many of the pieces in motion for the entire continuing Hellboy saga. And beside all that, it's just smart, fast-paced, fun.

This mini-series introduced Hellboy to the world and it is the place to start if you are new to Hellboy, and a great memory piece for those who have followed Hellboy's adventures and elaborate story ever since. Note that in Issue #1 the character is just getting up to speed; he isn't the tough talking, wise cracking, engagingly conflicted and yet witty guy we've come to know. This Hellboy starts out as a more traditional general purpose hero. (Issue #1 wasn't even written by Mignola.) That said, by the end of the series we have been introduced to many major characters and we begin to see the outlines of the Hellboy to come.

What is there, right from the beginning, is Mignola's gorgeous art. Heavy black lines, a few detailed background scene setting pages, many spare but atmospheric panels, sometimes just a suggestion of action - this work was often impressionistic but was never confusing or unclear. The Hellboy look is unique and compelling.

I was curious about how a comic would appear as a download. I downloaded this issue to a Kindle Fire and it worked fine. An entire page comes up on the screen. You can read it, but the print is very small. You can double tap the first panel on a page and then cycle through each panel from the page, with each panel being the size of the screen. Once you go through the four to six panels the next thing up is the next full page. You follow the same procedure there. This is a little cumbersome, but it's a price I'm willing to pay.

So, bottom line, this is an excellent and accessible Hellboy and a good deal. If you've ever wondered about this character, or if you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, this is a great find.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 January 2009
Near the end of World War II, the evil Rasputin summoned a creature from another world -- a little red demon baby.

And so starts Mike Mignola's distinctly offbeat "Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction," an eerie action/fantasy with a bright-red demon as its anti-hero. Mignola happily crams this rather brief tale with Lovecraftian horrors, a crumbling cursed mansion and a truly malevolent villain who wants to destroy the world.

Decades after Hellboy was summoned into this world, his adoptive father Professor Bruttenholm recounts what little he can remember of a doomed expedition to the north pole, along with the three Cavendish brothers. Then a grotesque frog creature attacks Bruttenholm, killing him instantly -- moments before Hellboy returns the favor.

Soon after, Hellboy and his companions Abe Sapien (fish-man) and Liz Sherman (pyrokinetic) arrive at cursed Cavendish Manor, unaware that the mansion's owner is in league with Rasputin. Then ghastly frog-creatures kidnap Liz and attack Hellboy, as Rasputin reveals his presence to the demon/man that he considers his servant.

And if Hellboy will not serve him, then Rasputin intends to use Liz's power to unleash a horrifying evil on the world....

"Seed of Destruction" is basically the springboard for the Hellboy graphic novel series (particularly as it reveals Hellboy's background and supposed destiny), and it's also the briefest -- virtually all the action takes place in the course of an hour or two. It's only real flaw is that Rasputin's drawn-out monologues tend to slow the plot down -- there's a LOT of exposition.

But for all that, it's a pretty wild ride. Mignola's rough, shadowy art matches the overall tone of the story, starting as a straightforward horror/suspense story before rapidly escalating into an all-out war on the lakeside. And there are some poignant moments as well, such as Hellboy's tragic final meeting with his adoptive father, or Abe's glimpse of the frogmen cradling the mother they killed.

And Mignola is pretty clearly a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan -- the story takes place in a cursed lakeside house, with a tentacled monster and mutated frog-beasts that were once human. And the Ogru Jahad only add to that impression -- they're ancient, terrible creatures that apparently want to obliterate everything. For whatever reason.

Hellboy is the pivot of the whole adventure. And despite his scarlet skin, horns and cloven hooves, he's anything but devilish -- he's sarcastic, wry, hot-tempered and determined to keep the world from Rasputin's clutches. But he also has a gentler side that we see when he's dealing with the elderly Bruttenholm, as well as his teammates Abe and Liz.

Full of action and grotesque creatures, "Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction" is a solid introduction to a decidedly unusual series. Bravo, Mike Mignola.
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on 7 January 2005
Seed of Destruction is Mike Mignola's first graphic album featuring his brilliant Hellboy. The artwork is very Kirbyesque throughout with gothic overtones. Somehow it all works very well. Mignola portrays a quirkiness and humour to the Hellboy character (which is fully realised in Del Toro's new Hellboy movie) and brings to the mix Abe Sapien (almost a modern reworking of Universal's Creature from the Black Lagoon), the incendiary Liz Sherman and, of course, the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence).
Seed of Destruction begins with Hellboy appearing after a fiendish nazi experiment by the villain of the piece, Rasputin.
From then on it's a rollercoaster ride of battles with frog-like monsters and tentacled beasts until the final showdown. The book doesn't take itself too seriously which is just as well given the absolutely ridiculous scenario. But, this is really FUN.
Mignola has found his niche and he has come up with a truly original concept, strong characters and atmosphere soaked, adrenaline pumping storylines in his Hellboy series. If you really like comics you can't afford to miss Hellboy.
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on 7 November 2017
Great first read of hellboy I really enjoyed this one now looking forward to reading some more hellboy graphic novels
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on 17 August 2017
Excellent book
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on 19 October 2017
Simply put one of the absolute best #1 single issues you will ever read. Amazing in every possible way and seminal in many other ways.
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on 30 August 2013
It's been a number of years since I first read Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy book, and, having read all of them at this point, I decided to go back and re-read the first book because my memories of it were hazy. Well, as I suspected, it's not a great first volume - but Hellboy is an incredible series, so don't be put off by this shaky start. The later books get better and better and better. But this first one...

I had completely forgotten that Mike Mignola didn't write the first Hellboy book - John "Man of Steel" Byrne did. That one surprised me. I'm sure Mignola had a hand in the story but the script is entirely credited to Byrne, which explains a lot. Hellboy doesn't quite sound like Hellboy in this - he's less charismatic, less witty, and more sober than in later books. Here he talks more like a generic tough guy than the Hellboy we've come to know over the years. Professor Bruttenholm (pronounced "broom") is killed early on in the book and Hellboy barely bats an eyelid. Not a single tear, just a cursory "he's dead" over the phone. To be fair, the relationship between Hellboy and his adoptive father, the Professor, would be elaborated on in later books so it's interesting to see that in this first volume Mignola had all but dismissed Bruttenholm as a character in the Hellboy universe.

Seed of Destruction is only barely related to the first Hellboy film. The beginning of the book and the film are the same in that it's set during WW2 on a remote island where the Nazis and Rasputin are trying to summon forces to turn the tide in the Nazis' favour and a baby Hellboy shows up. But that's only the first few pages and the film and book separate from there on out. The haunting Cavendish house, the generations-old curse, and the frogs that take up the rest of the book, aren't in the film at all, so don't expect Seed of Destruction to be the first Hellboy film in comics form.

Mignola's art is the best thing about the book. I love Mignola's style, all solid colours and figures verging on the abstract plus Hellboy's character design is just genius (some sketches at the back show how the character evolved from his inception in 1991 to his final design in 1994), and is one of the things I miss about the later Hellboy books. It's interesting that Mignola wasn't confident enough to both write and draw the book which is ironic as Mignola would become a much better writer than Byrne in later books. Byrne's writing is far too descriptive so the panels are filled with text while Hellboy's inner monologue is too clunky and expositional - these aspects would later disappear once Mignola took over writing duties.

All of which is to say that Seed of Destruction isn't a great Hellboy book but is a solid horror/mystery story with plenty of cool moments. There are lots of horror elements, many of which are Lovecraftian, like the tentacle monster at the end and the frog monsters throughout, not to mention the doomed expedition in arctic climes, and the overall gothic feel of the book. Plus it's great to see Mignola slowly putting together what will become a massive universe, gingerly introducing Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman while only hinting at what the BPRD is.

It's a shame this is the first volume as many new readers will read this and some will be turned off from reading more by Byrne's clunky writing and characterisation, and therefore miss out on one of the greatest comic book characters ever created, as Hellboy will become in later volumes. Seed of Destruction may not be an ideal first book but readers who persevere with the series will be rewarded with some of the richest comics you could ever hope to read.
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on 18 January 1999
HELLBOY is probably everything Robert Bloch (from the intro to Seed of Destruction) and Alan Moore (from the intro to Wake the Devil) say it is but the bottom line is that it's just great fun; a great visual and mythical experience. It clears itself of any pretentiousness right of the bat: it's about a monster (more specifically, a demon) who goes around and beats up or gets beaten up by other monsters. Mike Mignola himself said he "wanted to draw monsters" and HELLBOY assures that he'll be able to do so, whether drawing the good guy or the bad guys. But while Hellboy may not be the most cerebral comic book on the rack (not to imply that there are that many to begin with), it draws it's inspiration from mythology and folklore, so it's definitely food for the brain. And it may just inspire you to go and read the source material.
Something must also said for the artistic effort in the SoD series. Not to say that subsequent HELLBOY stories drawn by Mignola look bad (far from it), but in Seed Of Destruction, one can clearly see the labor of love involved. The combination of line work and heavy blacks seem to convey a stronger sense of depth than usual. Speaking of heavy blacks, Mignola has admitted that such a technique began as a way to cover up what he "didn't know how to draw", but he certainly knows how to turn this admitted weakness into strength. Mignola also skimps on backgrounds, often just leaving them out for panels at a time, but when he does render backgrounds, he knows just how to set the mood, whether the background in question is a derelict church, a moonlit forest or a graveyard. So effective are Mignola's backgrounds when they are seen, that the reader barely misses them when they're absent.
Anyway, enough gushing praise. I end with a recommendation: anyone who's a fan of comics, folklore or mythology should give HELLBOY: SEED OF DESTRUCTION (or anything HELLBOY, for that matter) a look.
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