Review: Hellboy The Wild Hunt

Hellboy The Wild Hunt’s story arc is the basis for the Hellboy feature film reboot by Neil Warner slated for 2019.   This volume is in keeping with the previous work done on Hellboy by Mike Mignola in that it stays true to the baseline mythos established for this universe while adding new material to further enrich the story.  Incredibly, Mignola references events and characters from Seed of Destruction (the very first Hellboy arc), weaving them into a story arc which is decades later in story and some fourteen years later in real life.  In the introduction to this volume Mignola talks about the fact that at one time he wished do a comic adaption of the King Arthur legend as he broke into the industry.  Ultimately he declined but somewhere along the way he merged the Arthur legend with Hellboy giving us The Wild Hunt and we are luckier for it.

The story begins in Italy as a bike messenger peddles through a small town before leaving an envelope on a doorway.  The envelope is addressed to Hellboy and sealed with the mark of The Osiris Club, an English gentleman’s club founded by seven men with prophetic ties to Hellboy.  The envelope is retrieved by the spirits of two elderly women who wake Hellboy from a dream of Dagda’s funeral and Alice Monaghan to present him with the letter.

Hellboy travels to England and The Osiris Club where he learns that giants are once again stirring from their graves.  Hellboy is invited to participate in the wild hunt to put down the gangs of giants roaming the countryside.  Meanwhile the defeated changeling Gruagach prepares to resurrect The Queen of Blood as he hopes to regain his power and take vengeance upon Hellboy for defeating him decades earlier.

As the story unfolds Hellboy is betrayed several times and eventually finds himself in the castle of Morgan Le Fay.  As Hellboy’s story proceeds, Gruagach has succeeded in resurrecting The Queen of Blood and she in turn begins to gather the witches and faerie folk of England together to form an army that will eradicate mankind.  To combat this army Morgan presents Hellboy with a possible army of his own and the means to get it.  For some time most have known who Hellboy’s father and mother were; the demon Azzael and the witch Sarah Hughes.  However, for the first time Morgan explains to Hellboy the genealogy on his mother’s side.  Presented with this new information Hellboy contemplates two possible fates.  One is to embrace his roll as the right hand of doom, Anung un Rama, the legacy of his father Azzael.  Hellboy rejects this utterly and in a poignant moment relives his slaughter of giants earlier in the book as passages from the Book of Revelations are juxtaposed against it.  His second fate is to embrace the new legacy left to him by his mother, one he is also reluctant to choose.  Alice urges Hellboy to choose this second path but Hellboy hesitates and in his hesitation believes he has killed Alice in a burst of hellfire.  Ultimately Hellboy, for better or worse, chooses this second path and finds Alice unharmed.  Together they walk off arm in arm searching for Hellboy’s new army and the inevitable confrontation with the Queen of Blood.

 This volume of the Hellboy story is excellently drawn, excellently written and a joy to read.  This story arc is pivotal for what is to come for Hellboy.  For those who haven’t followed Hellboy over the years I don’t want to ruin what is coming but you will not be disappointed with the conclusion of Hellboy’s journey.  Mignola is a master in taking disparate pieces of mythology and weaving them together into a greater whole.  In this volume he builds upon the base he has already created with Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Christian, Norse, Russian and African mythologies.  Somehow Mignola takes all that and adds in elements of the Arthur mythos and blends it all together to create a captivating tale that is engrossing and surprising.  I can not recommend Hellboy The Wild Hunt or the entire Hellboy universe enough.

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Writer – Mike Mignola
Artist – Duncan Fegredo
Color – Dave Stewart
Letterer – Clem Robins