Mike Mignola has an incredible tale on his hands with Koshchei the Deathless. The first issue was nearly perfect, and this issue aims to bring us further down the rabbit hole with a story that weaves different types of tales all into one. In a world where dragons were once king we’re privy to a tale that explains why they aren’t any longer.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Sent to kill Hellboy by the Baba Yaga in Darkness Calls, Koshchei the Deathless hinted at a long and tragic life before being enslaved to the Russian witch. Now, in a pub somewhere in Hell, Koshchei tells Hellboy about a dangerous mission when the witch sent him to hunt and destroy the last dragons before their eggs hatched.
Why does this matter?
I was taken by surprise at how good Koshchei the Deathless #1 was due to its folktale underpinnings and excellent art. It was a comic I thought everyone should be talking about and yet nobody was. It’s the kind of first issue that let you know you’ll be buying every installment of the series. Issue #2 is out today. Need I say more?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Follow the golden ball of string.
It’s interesting to see Koshchei continue to be the hero of this tale when even his look screams villain. But in a world where villains creep on you from every corner and magic golden yarn can bring you down the right path, who’s to say who is the good guy? Mignola continues to craft an incredibly addictive tale here and it’s one that anyone a fan of fairy tales and folklore has to read. This issue mixes stories within stories, like the one about a person whose father was a fish and whose mother was a cow. There are also talking snakes and dragons. Nearly every page has a different type of tale or creature to enjoy as Mignola explores further an incredibly strange and original tale.
The art by Ben Stenbeck is excellent, and when paired with Dave Stewart’s colors it’s hard not to enjoy the complex and realistic looking world on display. Like in life, it’s all about the details, like the small purple mushrooms on a tree in one scene or grizzled meat of an arm that’s been hacked off in another. The use of light in this issue is excellent and helps deliver a sense of dread or wonderment where needed. Like the long yawn of shadows off a tree or the dark shadow of a man who isn’t a man, there’s so much to enjoy. The sense of atmosphere is never lost and it’ll grip you every step of the way.
Why must they go on like this?
It can’t be perfect can it?
Unless Hellboy plays a bigger part further into the story I’m still at a loss for why Koshchei needs to be telling this story to him in the future. The inclusion is unnecessary and distracting from the journey at hand. It also kicks off the issue with a slower start.
Is It Good?
This will be a favorite for fans of folklore and fairy tales. The story is strange and original with art that suits the atmospheric storytelling.
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