Mike Mignola has been plugging away producing regular Hellboy stories since 1994. Whether he’s writing and illustrating, just writing or participating in spinoff material, Mignola has built up one of the best universes in ongoing modern comics. But every now and then, people need a change of pace and from 2010 to 2015, Mignola has found time to tell some more off-kilter one shot shot stories which all share a common theme.
In 1956, a still relatively inexperienced Hellboy was sent by the B.P.R.D. to Mexico to put a stop to a large outbreak of supernatural activity. What should have been an in and out operation turned into a six month road trip of Mexico where Hellboy befriends a group of demon fighting luchadores, gets into a wrestling match with a Frankenstein monster, fights ancient Aztec mummies and even gets married. All whilst drinking far too much tequila.
If you’re a serious fan of Hellboy, this detour from the regular canon may be a bit of a departure from the style of storytelling you’re used to. But this should not be an excuse to be deterred as Mignola uses this opportunity to showcase some rather out-there but wonderfully creative stories that – whilst putting him in rather different than usual scenarios – are still classic Hellboy. The luchadores’ brief appearance in the first instalment are a particular highlight having great chemistry with Hellboy despite not speaking the same language, and Mignola uses this new surrounding to throw some great monsters Hellboy’s way – including evil turkeys.
This collection is also a great showcase of some of the supporting artists that Mignola has worked with over the years. Mignola himself brings his classic style to Hellboy’s encounter with an Aztec Mummy, whilst horror comics and Heavy Metal legend Richard Corben’s trademark style in the two opening stories. Veteran Judge Dredd artist Mick McMahon is also a welcome addition as his great depiction of Hellboy’s rather spontaneous wedding and subsequent discovery of the true nature of his new wife is both horrifying and hysterical. The collection is rounded off by the great two part Coffin Man story by award winning comic artists Gabriel Ba (The Umbrella Academy, Casanova) and Fabio Moon (Casanova, Serenity).
Anyone looking for some great standalone Hellboy stories will find plenty to enjoy in this collection and those who are looking for something even more off-kilter than Hellboy’s usual adventures are in for a treat.
Hellboy in Mexico is published 28 April by Dark Horse
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