Monday, April 24, 2017

Review - Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea (@DarkHorseComics)


"Oh, pilot, 'tis a fearful night--"

Having a giant demon-hand comes with benefits. It also comes with a lot of responsibility, in that there's a lot of fear on the part of those around you as to whether or not you mean them harm. Hellboy has lived with that reaction his entire life, but it doesn't make him any less qualified to handle an array of situations. Those situations include being captured by a pirate ship in Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and Gary Gianni, illustrated by Gianni, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Clem Robins.

Hellboy sets sail from the wreckage of a deserted island only to cross paths with a ghost ship. Taken captive by the phantom crew that plans to sell him to the circus, Hellboy is dragged along by a captain who will stop at nothing in pursuit of a powerful sea creature.

There's always been something poetic about the Hellboy series, but Mignola and Gianni take a step further in Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea by infusing the issue with the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This approach gives the book more of a weight in its story, in that Mignola and Gianni make it feel bigger. Much of the story features Hellboy characterized as calm from a position of weakness which is how he operates best honestly. The story also progresses along quite cleanly as Hellboy witnesses firsthand all the chaos and madness surrounding him on the vessel. Mignola and Gianni do a fantastic job of pacing the issue in a way that gives it a sing-song rhythm--similar to an ode. And the reveal at the end is perfectly in-line with other works from the Hellboy universe, capturing the tone of the series very well.

Gianni's artwork in the book is astounding and the linework boasts a scratchiness to its presentation. There's a macabre quality to his approach that really allows the reader to understand the atmosphere of the book as Gianni uses a style that evokes older works of art. Hellboy isn't drawn with overblown proportions and seemingly fits in right alongside the pirates of the ship he's been taken captive on. And towards the end, Gianni gets to flex some "true" Hellboy looks in that the creatures he renders are a good mix of sea life and fantasy. Stewart's colors look beautiful as always, with the sharp red of Hellboy popping against the dour grays of the ship at sea.

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea is an extremely satisfying Hellboy tale. Hellboy isn't faced with any situation that he hasn't necessarily faced before, but his knowledge and approach make for a fascinating read. Mignola and Gianni offer a script that moves along with an attention to literature in its approach. Richard Corben has always excelled at illustrating the grotesque and there are shades of that in Gianni's work in Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea. Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea is a great entry in the Hellboy universe that offers another adventure for him to work his way out of.

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea is available now.

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