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HELLBOY IN HELL #7 (advance review)

Review by Atlee Greene
Hellboy in Hell #7 – “The Hounds of Pluto: Part One”
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Mike Mignola
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 26, 2015

It has been fifteen months since Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart entered the depths of hell with our favorite ass-kicking demon.

When we last saw Hellboy, he was in a fierce brawl with a deadly vampire from his past that spawned from a not so friendly card game.

Fast forward to this issue, and Hellboy is sick, really sick, and the kicker is, he could die.

The thing is, Hellboy is already dead, and stuck in Hell for all of eternity.

So how does one get a posthumous illness?

Mike Mignola answers that question in haunting fashion. Each installment of this series takes the reader on a journey where there is just this dirty, horrible series of events that are consistently getting worse. Hellboy has to fight off another demon in order to protect the one thing that can possibly cure him, and the ghostly trial that proceeded it,along with the use of a mummified cat, seems oddly normal if, as a reader you’ve spent some time on this plane of existence.

The supernatural splendor of it all includes symbolism, dreams of the past, and hope for the future that augments the narrative to the point where we experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with the titular character. The script gets a little poetic at times, and while I can appreciate the level of sophistication Mignola is trying to bring here, in this instance it trips up the story to a degree.

Now, let’s talk about the art.

The book opens with a scene in England, and it happens to be the very spot where Hellboy died.

Not only does the beautiful imagery stand on its own, but it also invokes a sense of optimism before we are dragged back down into the toiling inferno of Hellboy’s reality. Even though there is a lot more conversation than action, the details exhibited with characters and backgrounds screamed despair with every turn of the page.

There’s hardly anything to ever complain about when it comes to the distinct coloring of Dave Stewart. The nine-time Eisner Award winner uses his pallet of grays and blacks to highlight the chilling dread of affairs, and then the change up to orange and red tones illustrates the increasing antagonism during the trial of Dr. Hoffman.

Overall, this book served as a good introduction to “The Hounds of Pluto” story arc, as well as a good starting point for new readers. Even though it left a little to be desired in the meat and potatoes department, it was a straight forward experience that did its job and set the stage for what’s to come.

The visuals definitely take center stage this time out as Hellboy is a walking reflection of his environment.

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