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Hellboy: "The Wild Hunt"

Omnibus 3

By Tom BakerPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Glaring grimly and glowering grotesquely over the gulf: Hellboy.

Strangely, there are few comic book characters quite as endearing as the lantern-jawed, shovel-headed, red-skinned, curly-tailed, seemingly aviator goggles-wearing (those are caps or something from where his horns were amputated) demon child turned alcoholic and incredibly taciturn adult male wandering hero Hellboy, who I take it was belched up from the lower depths to only be adopted by those charming old Brits involved in a super secret Occult Bureau investigating demonic and supernatural shenanigans on behalf of Her Majesty. I think that's the way it goes, but I better go and check.

Okay, so in Hellboy Omnibus 3: The Wild Hunt, Hellboy is back to hitting the bottle hard, having DT dreams of a massive mole on his arm (the normal one, not the gigantic, Elephant Man-like robot arm or whatever he lugs around), growing into a demon that takes him on an aerial voyage before ripping him out of his skin and then dropping him to the Earth or something--he wakes up, realizing it was only a drink-induced dream. But there is so much more to come.

He is transported to a fantasy forest, wherein spirits or something of the forest bury one of the Celtic Tuatha De Danaan. I'm not sure what this has to do with the rest of the book (it's all laid out on Wikipedia, and I still can't follow it, really), but then he has an extended (I mean very extended) long fight against a resurrected warrior named Scholomein, who was brought back to kill Hellboy by Baba Yaga, who is an ancient Russian folklore crone that flies around in a mortar and pestle. I believe she is underground or something, and, if so, she later trades places with Morgan Le Fey, or Nimue, or the Dragon, or...but, damn, this plot gets very confusing.

No matter. It's the meat of the actual six heavy chapters that come later, that prove that Hellboy is a descendent of King Arthur through Mordred, and maybe that's why he's transported to the realm of Morgan Le Fey (who looks like Countess Bathory) with a little Russian girl he saved from an evil imp changeling who became a talking pig-headed thing that commits suicide (well, if you had a pig head, wouldn't you?) and is kind of tragic in a Shakespearean way (I'm thinking Midsummer Night's Dream, here), and then we find out Nuimue, or Mabs, or the Queen of the Witches, or Hecate, or someone is under Earth, and is raising a hideous undead demon army to destroy mankind. However, if Hellboy claims the sword Excalibur, he can raise a proper English army of the dead to ride to the defense of man. Something like that.

But he doesn't want to do that at first. But as the situation direr and direr (and the plot more convoluted), he decides, as he would say in one of his most loquacious, verbose, and well-spoken moments, "What the hell?", and throws down with Mabs/Nimue/Witch Queen, who is, in reality, the Dragon, Satan, who delivers quite a self-congratulatory monolog while getting his scaly ass handed to him by our favorite, grumbling, lush of a Hellborn superhero, who snaps at him, "Shut the hell up!" Hellboy is NOT known for the poetry of his expressions.

The world begins to unravel. I won't tell you how it ends (it is a little bit of a shock), but I will tell you the book is horror and decay, death, and fantasy from start to finish. It could give The Sandman a run for its dark, ugly fairy-tale money. And, hideous horrors, it's a grim and violent book, with brutal death depicted on page after page. And it's HUGE.

The artwork is dark, sometimes visually confusing and chaotic, and demonic and undead characters are depicted in similar colors as monsters in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. At least, that's what page after page reminds me of. Hellboy stands in the center of all that purple and swirling black, RED, his jaw set and his mien grimly determined. The artwork is from sketches by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, with the majority I take it by Duncan Fegredo. It's slick, highly detailed, impressive stuff. But it's solid depictions of death and the underworld, violence and bloodletting, for the entire thing.

All of which is to say: it's a helluva ride. You'll eagerly eat up every single, dark, death-besotted page getting to the end, even if you're confused as to how in the Hell you got there once you finally arrive.

reviewzombiessuperheroespop culturecomics

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock3 months ago

    Sounds like a hell of a read! (Sorry, best I could do. Sounds fun, though.)

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