Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews

Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch
Dark Horse Comics
Mignola & Stewart

A one shot for Hellboy turns out to be a pleasant surprise in the pile this week. Oh sure the return of the creator for the first time in three years is excitement enough, but what do you really expect from this? I left my expectations low and found that this story was near perfect. It has me clamoring for a quarterly one shot or something along those lines. What a simple issue that delivers on all the key ingredients you’d expect from Mignola and from Hellboy.

The story is easy enough. Hellboy is led to Portugal by someone who is trying to figure out what happened to his friend, the painter. What they discover is that by night he partakes in some bizarre rituals that has him fairly possessed. Hellboy figures out the origins of the evil and decides to use some of his tricks to rid the man of the demon and is met with some surprises from the demon and friends.

So what is so special about the issue you ask?

How about dialogue from Hellboy. It’s perfect Hellboy-speak. He uses short sentences and in some cases one word answers. This is key when he delivers his jokes. I found myself laughing out loud at quite a few points in the comic. Hellboy fights with wit, but not just the normal super hero banter, but with real-life lack of enthusiasm and slight bits of teenage-like sarcasm. For example, the statue comes alive and Hellboy mildly states, “Well, you knew THAT was going to happen.” It’s perfect Hellboy dialogue.

What about the art? Classic Hellboy. This is what I think of when I hear Hellboy. It’s dark coloring with subtle line work. It’s everything I expect when I open a Hellboy comic. The movies had Hellboy much more of a brighter red, but this is returns him to the duller red. The line work isn’t overly complicated, but it is expressive in a muted way.

What wasn’t I thrilled about? Well, I felt the ending didn’t provide a full explanation. In some ways I don’t expect one because Hellboy typically gets most of the story before everything goes wrong, but for a one shot I thought there could have been a little more connecting of the dots. It’s a minor gripe.

In all this was right in my wheelhouse. It was a complete, full story in one issue that made classic use of the character. It didn’t try to overreach or set up future plots. It just told a story from start to finish with some action, some humor, some detective work and classic art. I think if you liked the movies and have an interest in the comics then this is the perfect point to ease into it. I highly recommend this issue.

4 out of 5 geek goggles