, , ,

This trade paperback collects the four-issue Hellboy: The Conqueror Worm series, rather than a collection of shorter adventures as some of the past trade paperbacks have done.

Note: This review features mild plot spoilers — read at your own risk.

There are really three protagonists here, all of whom play pivotal roles: Hellboy, Roger the Homunculus, and ‘30s pulp action hero Lobster Johnson, who’s seen here – even in his spectral form – as a ruthless badass. Hellboy and Roger are sent out to a ruined castle to deal with a returning Nazi space capsule that is returning to Earth after a sixty-year hiatus. The two eventually encounter Lobster Johnson, who, as it turns out, was killed at the castle in 1939 when he tried to stop the Nazi rocket from being launched.

The rocket was sent into space with the dead body of a Nazi scientist on board so that it could be inhabited by one of the evil spirits of the void with whom the Nazis had made contact.

One of the last of the old-school Nazi occultists, Herman von Klempt, now just a head in a jar, is on hand with his granddaughter, some neo-Nazi minions, and his next-generation cyborg gorilla to usher in the apocalypse that this void spirit is sure to bring. Sure enough, it takes the form of a gigantic worm/caterpillar/thing that grows as it consumes life. Our heroes only just manage to stop this beast from destroying all life on Earth.

This is another excellent installment in the Hellboy series and I highly recommend it. 5 stars out of 5.

Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers