The macabre fairytale I hope will never end continues this week as Mike Mignola tells a tale of heartache, murder, and great loss. This issue furthers Koshchei’s now enslavement from the Baba Yaga to do her bidding, but at what point will he fight back?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Koshchei attempts to defy Baba Yaga, but it comes at an unbearable cost.
Why does this matter?
Each chapter has been great if not overwhelmingly good. Ben Stenbeck has been drawing lights-out stuff with incredibly vivid colors by Dave Stewart. It’s one of the most entertaining series for those who like a good folktale or creation myth story.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Koshchei continuing to tell his tale to Hellboy and this chapter does a good job tying Hellboy into the story enough to make this story element work. As the story unfolds there are great moments of woe which will make you feel for Koshchei. This includes an excellent four-page montage of Koshchei taking out some incredibly well designed creatures and monsters. This leads to the eventual moment where Koshchei must reveal how he dealt with Vasilisa. She was a character who tied into Hellboy’s adventures and who also seriously pissed off the Baba Yaga. This part of the story unfolds in a surprising way and may bite Koshchei in the butt later.
Overall this issue establishes Koshchei’s tired and forlorn nature as a man who lives forever will eventually want it all to end. The last few pages bookend well with the beginning, showing how Koshchei has fallen quite far from the unbeatable winner to a pathetic state. It’s in the last two pages that Mignola infuses the story with a last-ditch twist that should make the next issue highly enjoyable.
Stenbeck is excellent as always with some impressive moments featuring beats and monsters. The orange eyes always get me going and Dave Stewart doesn’t disappoint. There’s quite a cool mystical moment where Koshchei uses the last bit of his magic that gives the tale an otherworldly feel which is saying something when horses are exploding with magic and death incarnate looms throughout the book.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m a bit perplexed as to why Koshchei gives up his magic. It happens in the opening pages and doesn’t seem to make sense unless this is part of his giving up on life. I could see him being tired, and possibly ashamed, but why give up the last bits of your power? We’ll have to guess at it I suppose.
Is It Good?
Yet another great issue in a story that will be buy on site when collected. Don’t pass up on one of Mignola’s greatest masterpieces.