So as you all no doubt can discern if you are regular readers, I am a Hellboy fan (no, I haven’t yet caught up personally with my latest review of him, gimme a break, I am actually a professor by trade). Hearing that good ol’ Mr. Sapien had his own series, I was psyched. He deserves some time as the central character in his own right, and this collection delivers.
I have to admit, it was a little odd seeing him drawn by artists who aren’t Mike Mignola. But once I got used to that, I actually was able to appreciate how the various artists made good attempts at keeping a Mignola feel while not trying to imitate him directly. Anyone who is a Dr. Seuss fan and then reads Daisy-Head Maysie knows what I mean. It’s a tough balance for an artist, I’m sure, to take an already-established character, and have to not only depict them faithfully, but in one’s own artistic style. That can’t be an easy balance to find.
So once the oddity wore off (quite quickly, as I got sucked in to wondering what had happened at that mysterious lake to that little boy), I had a new appreciation for looking at this character and the Lovecraftian Hellboy world in a fresh light. Also cute was seeing the artists’ sketchbooky stuff in the back, with one note: “sloped Mignola shoulders.” You did good, guys.
As far as plots go, these stories are wonderfully creepy, weirdly fresh, and sometimes so gruesome it’s even a little funny. (Maybe SPOILER?): The very last story in this collection ends with a classic Hellboy understatement which is also delightful.
Bottom line: I highly recommend the Abe Sapien series, this collection in particular. ~Prof. Jenn