When Hellboy isn't saving the world from imminent destruction, he's doing a lot of little odd jobs across the world.
And by "odd jobs," I mean brief paranormal cases involving vampires, flying hunters, homunculi, "pamcakes" and disembodied heads. "Hellboy Volume 4: The Right Hand of Doom" collects a number of the demon anti-hero's assorted adventures, ranging from a new and unknown breakfast to a devilish plot to conquer the world. All in a day's work.
It opens with a baby Hellboy being given a plate of "pamcakes," which he pronounces to be "yucky." But when a general sternly orders him to eat one bite, the consequences are literally hell-raising.
Seriously, isn't that the cutest thing ever?
Many years later, Hellboy is called on to deal with mythological creatures large and small -- the Saint Leonard worm (a dragon) running amuck in a forest, a spectral huntsman followed by berserkers in wolf pelts, a Japanese house full of bouncing heads, a seance gone horribly wrong (with Lovecraftian tentacles!), and the supervampire Varcolac who is so large he can "eat the moon."
And though Hellboy tries to ignore his past and supposed destiny, he learns something quite disturbing when a kindly priest gives him an ancient, mysterious drawing of the "right hand of doom" -- which looks suspiciously like Hellboy's big rocky hand.
And a demon (which looks suspiciously like a housefly) sealed into a box is stolen from a secret compartment, and is soon "serving" a human master. Turns out they want to lure Hellboy to that place, in the hopes of stealing the evil, apocalyptic powers that he has already renounced.
Mike Mignola is awesome at full-length graphic novels, but his shorter works are even better -- these are lean, compact little action stories with nothing more or less than they need. And it's sort of nice to see Hellboy's more ordinary cases -- if you can call these ordinary -- with foes like a "Wild Huntesque" horseman, a dragon and even some traditional Japanese hobgoblins.
And Mignola's writing doesn't suffer from the shorter format, especially since he happily adapts some folktales to fit his world (legends, folk tales, saints). There's wonderfully sick moments ("Hey, that's not my spine!") and some poignant moments (Hellboy musing on his "destiny"). Naturally, also plenty of nastier moments including bouncing heads, giant monstrous tentacles from the "deep end of the pool," a vampire that can "eat the moon," and a man turning into a giant lizard.
Hellboy is basically your average investigator in most of these stories -- he goes in, gets the job done and fixes things (although sometimes he can't quite fix EVERYTHING). He's a nice straightforward kind of guy with a gruff manner, but Mignola reminds us at times that he has some unhappier facets ("You know how I live? I never deal with what I am"), and a destiny he keeps rejecting.
"Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom" follows the example of the prior collection -- lots of solid standalone adventures for our horned anti-hero. Lovely read.
I usually prefer long stories but the quality of Mignola’s work plus the slick spirits of the Hellboy’s character make it ideal for collections as well. As in “The Chained Coffin”, we have here another fine collection of Hellboy’s stories from very different periods of his life, delving deeper inside the character’s psychology and origin. The initial very short and humoristic story “Pancakes” on Hellboy’s childhood perfectly introduces the reader in the Hellboy’s folklore, which lines up monstrous things alongside every day issues. This book is also a good opportunity to appreciate Hellboy’s common denominators in very different scenarios from Norway to Japan.
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This 'Hellboy' graphic novel is comprised of several stories that were originaly sold individually the book includes 'Pancakes', 'The Nature of the Beast', 'King Vold', 'Heads', 'Goodbye,Mister Tod', 'The Varcolac' and the title story The 'Right Hand of Doom' and finally 'Box full of Evil 'which in my opinion is the finest 'Hellboy' story i have read so far, although i have not yet read the very first 'Hellboy' comics 'The Seed of Destruction' and 'Wake the Devil'. The creator of Hellboy Mike Mignola is such a skilled artist and storyteller, his ideas are so well realised by this exquisite series of comic books. I love the way he has 'Hellboy' solving these fantastic mysteries in places such as Sussex and 'Hellboy' himself arrived on this earth in a farm house in East Bromich ! Well done Mike Mignola,keep up the great work. I stongly urge anyone who enjoys atmospheric horror books or films to start collecting anything 'Hellboy'.
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Saying this is my favourite is half true half false. it's my favourite along with strange places but i couldn't be bothered reviewing both so i'm just mentioning it now. it's really good especially pancakes which is hilarious. i also like how it's presented some very good stories highly recommended.