This trade paperback collects various mini-series, one-shots, and back-up features, including: Hellboy: The Wolves of Saint August; Hellboy: The Corpse and the Iron Shoes; Hellboy: Almost Colossus; Dark Horse Presents #100, Part 2; and Hellboy: Christmas Special, along with a gallery.
This is a terrific collection of Hellboy shorts. Most are one-offs that involve a minor (but interesting) investigation of some kind of occult/paranormal phenomenon rather than advancing Hellboy’s backstory or the cosmology of the setting.
Note: This review features mild plot spoilers — read at your own risk. I’ll briefly offer some opinions on the various stories included in this collection.
The Corpse: This is a cute, fun, horrific, poignant tale of Hellboy tangling with the fae folk as he tries to recover a kidnapped child who has been exchanged with a changeling. Probably my favorite in this collection.
The Iron Shoes: A quick little story – just a vignette really, as we have almost no context – about Hellboy coming to blow with another of the fae folk, one who likes to wear big stompy boots. Fun, but no much to it.
The Baba Yaga: Hellboy has a run-in with the infamous Russian witch Baba Yaga. Another pretty short one, but interesting, especially as this encounter is referenced in Hellboy: Wake the Devil.
The Christmas Underground: It’s a “Christmas story” only in that Hellboy is mistaken for Father Christmas by a dying woman. Hellboy confronts ghosts and tries to save a woman’s soul.
The Chained Coffin: Pact with the Devil kind of thing. We learn some interesting things about Hellboy’s mother and siblings.
The Wolves of St. August: Along with Almost Colossus, one of the two longest works in the collection. A terrific werewolf and cursed castle story. Great art, great story. One of the strongest entries in this collection.
Almost Colossus: Inspired by one of Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne stories, “The Colossus of Ylourgne,” it tells the story of what happened to Liz and the homunculus she brought back to life at the end of Hellboy: Wake the Dead. This was a massive, dangling sub-plot from that collection, so it’s very good to see it finally resolved. The story itself could have probably been just a tad more interesting, in my opinion, but still a good resolution.
This collection is highly recommended for those who enjoyed at least the first Hellboy collection. If you did, do yourself a favor and pick this one up! I give it 5 stars out of 5.
Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers