Advance Review: Hellboy – Into the Silent Sea

Despite the lack of an ongoing series, the popular demand for Mike Mignola’s creation still remains high.  This time around Mignola is joined by Eisner Award wining artist Gary Gianni for a sea bound adventure.

For this one-shot, Hellboy is actually caught between a devil and the deep blue sea in the shapes of a Captain who has visions of cashing in on our hero, King Kong style and a mysterious woman with an Ahab complex.  Between them and the ships young cabin boy, Hellboy is in quite a bind, literally and figuratively.

The book is written by Mignola along with Gianni; a writer partner for Mignola has been par for the course a number of times in the past.  Here it is if Mignola is sheep herding and adding the continuity context to Gianni’s story which in turn is something of an homage to the great monster writers of the past.  That’s all well and good, but for all the style on show I can’t help but feel that there is a lack of substance to the events.  Some of this may be fur to that fact that Hellboy has a circuitous lifespan to say the least.  This in turn means that we know that nothing major is going to happen to him, even in the “death is not final” world of comic books.

Regardless of the story and the possible lack of impact, the main draw for readers will be the art of Gary Gianni, whose style is dramatically different to Mignola.  This is a good think as there is little point in having a Mignola clone.  GIanni art has an old school feel that reminds of the type of art you find in encyclopaedia’s.  For some this may be a one step back too far; for me I can appreciate the different look, the different textures on show as they fit the idea of this nautical horror so well.  It seems that where there is Mignola you also get Dave Stewart as well, almost a Dark Horse 2 for 1 deal.  Whilst the colors on show here may not be the most dramatic you have seen, they do allow the art to breathe.

A Hellboy story is always something to look forward to.  Whilst this true, style over substances would be an easy trap to fall into, without the backbone of an ongoing series ensconced these one shots, giving a sense of an overall arc.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors 3.5 Stars

Writer: Mike Mignola
Co-written and illustrated Gary Gianni
Colored by Dave Stewart

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea is the third Hellboy original graphic novel, following the classics, Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by Mignola, Richard Corben and Stewart (2011) and Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mignola, Duncan Fegredo and Stewart.

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