Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hellboy: The Crooked Man #2 review

Tom, Cora and Hellboy are marching through the woods carrying the body of Tom's dad when they near some coal mines. Cora starts freaking out. The mines are home to a group of witches called the Melungion Witches, descendents of the of the settlers of Roanoke Island way back when and mixed with Croatan Indians. Tom decides it's okay to cross since they only come out at night, but suddenly day turns to night. The witches start calling to Cora who continues to freak out. Hellboy tries carrying her but she soon starts vomiting insects, bloating and then exploding releasing a waveof insects and other vermin which swarm over Tom and Hellboy. Hellboy disappears into the darkness. He dreams of seeing a giant cathedral, walks in as is confronted by what appears to be death covered in vermin. Hellboy lunges backwards suddenly into a bunch of trees where Tom is hiding. The vermin are gone now they see Effie Colb once again. Hellboy fires his gun at her, but hits a tree branch and Effie disappears. They make their way down to a church and mee a black, blind priest who says Cora came in only a minute before. Apparently he can see her ghost. The priest says that even though the Devil might have gotten Cora's body, he did not get her soul which is why she can be inside the church. They decide to wait until morning to bury Tom's dad's body as the church is surrounded now by witches. Tom is blaming himself for the mess they are in when the Crooked Man comes out to confront Tom and Hellboy.

The story is a pretty straight forward one. A young Hellboy and a directionless and regretful young man go out to confront mistakes of the past. The attraction for this story is the art and the setting. Tom Fisher is an interesting enough character, I suppose, though it's not like this kind of character hasn't been done before. What makes him even more interesting is the culture he comes from. The Appalachian mysticism that informs the story, the setting, the dialogue, the deceptive simpleness of it all. Richard Corben, take a bow. I don't think anyone else could draw this story. Corben nails it.

Two third sof the way through, I find it interesting that Hellboy takes a backseat in this story. He held equal time with Tom Fisher in the first issue, but really plays a supporting role in this series overall it seems. Hellboy does have an interesting character experience encountering Death in his dream. "Everybody knows the Devil can't set foot in a church." Foreshadowing the climax of this story and insight into Hellboy's nature as well I suppose. I would think, after the release of the new movie, that the natural inclination from a creator's standpoint would be to do a very Hellboy centric tale. Nope, and good on Mignola for telling the stories he wants to tell.

Overall, The Crooked Man is a pretty damn fine tale, and I'm enjoying it immensely. If you're waiting for the TPB that's fine but I would recommend picking up the single issues to enjoy now.


Post a Comment

<< Home