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Hellboy: Darkness Calls #1
By Geoff Hoppe
May 2, 2007 - 22:10

Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Mike Mignola
Penciller(s): Duncan Fegredo
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart
Letterer(s): Clem Robbins


That sparrow from the dragon-killing story is back. Wonder why...
It’s been two years, but Hellboy finally returns in a new six-part series entitled “Darkness Calls.” Picking up right after the events of “The Island,” HB’s last venture, “Darkness Calls” introduces a nasty group of witches, a few bizarre English country-folk, and brings Ilsa Hauptstein back from the dead…


The Obligatory Warning: a very brief but graphic sex scene. Pervasive dark atmosphere, and a fountain full of human blood (but it is a horror comic …)


Mignola turns his eye to England this time, focusing on witch persecutions of the seventeenth century. One hopes the story will be better than Bryan Augustyn’s lamentable “Dark Water,” a B.P.R.D. yarn that managed to make Colonial Massachusetts Witch Trials boring. “Darkness Calls” reintroduces earlier villains Ilsa Hauptstein and Vladimir Giurescu, of “Wake the Devil” fame, who’re both being manipulated by a pasty, fat guy who apparently lives in Vampirella’s basement. The bird-women of Thessaly are also back, and they’ve captured a piece of the horns Hellboy broke off at the end of his adventure in Romania.


My (and probably many others’) complaint: Mignola isn’t drawing. Especially after his stunning work on “The Island,” one is desperate to see what he might do for an encore. No such luck. Duncan Fegredo is the new penciler, and, despite the fact that he’s not Mike Mignola, he’s not bad. Fegredo’s style should satisfy most Hellboy/B.P.R.D. fans, as it looks like a mixture of Mike Mignola and Guy Davis. He’s already established an eerie foundation that may lack Mignola’s Lovecraftian expressionism, but nonetheless extends a spindly hand over the reader’s mind. Most importantly, Fegredo’s at home drawing Big Red. Hellboy’s mannerisms and rhythms are almost as convincing as they are in Mignola’s hands.


As always, bravo, Dave Stewart. Hellboy’s incomparable colorist scores again—but has there ever been a time when Dave Stewart’s colors weren’t amazing?


Worth the money? Yes—the art’s good, the story promises to be interesting, and the atmosphere is delectable.

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