Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #2 of 2
Dark Horse Comics
Mignola & Hampton
The short two part series where Hellboy encounters some nasty European vampires wraps up with a fairly straight forward issue. On the one hand the issue disappoints somewhat because it doesn’t measure up to the complexity of some of the recent arcs, such as The Wild Hunt. However, there is something to be said for a just a simple, fun story. It all depends on how you like your Hellboy. Either way, the story is a good read that has plenty of action and a good twist of an ending.
Hellboy is getting thrown around by a very angry vampire. Hellboy really messed up the family dynamic by killing off one of the vampires in the previous issue and now he’s been tricked into dealing with another one in a very confined space. It seems like it’s a kill or be killed situation.
Hellboy is always in situations like this one though so why is this one different? Actually, the comic presents the threat in almost a casual way – for Hellboy at least. Back up arrives for Hellboy in the form of a couple of BPRD boys and they even remark how they back up Hellboy generally by sitting in the car. This actually shifts the danger to them instead of Hellboy. By taking the focus off of Hellboy it makes his fight seem less important. I’m not sure if this helped or hurt the issue, but it definitely made it different.
The comic ends with something much different than the standard ending to a vampire story. Hellboy doesn’t necessarily solve anything, it’s almost as if he’s simply an accessory to all that occurs. It’s very much in keeping with his level of experience at this point in his career.
The comic book didn’t find the familiar Hellboy ground I felt. Some Hellboy stories are funny, some are heavy on the paranormal activity, while others are more of an all out brawl. This one sort of danced around all the types, but never truly identifying itself as any one in particular. I never found the combination clicking fully.
Hampton on the art duties was very good. The best scenes were actually the details captured when the BPRD guys were totally surrounded. I felt those scenes really showed off a nice range of creativity and imagination. Overall, the story was a good one visually.
Hellboy fights strange things all the time. In this comic book he basically fights a little girl vampire that has a cute little cat. It’s definitely different. The issue manages to put others in danger by infusing some civilians in with the BPRD men. What’s interesting here though is Mignola actually leaves a tiny door open in this issue for some of these vampires to be revisited. Overall, I liked the issue, but kind of wished it would have been either serious, funny or just a brawl instead of going back and forth so much. I have no doubt that a Hellboy fan would enjoy this issue though.
3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles