Who doesn’t like a good 32-page one-shot on the week of Halloween? No continuity to understand and no convoluted serial storytelling mechanic to sift through, but instead good old fashioned horror. Add in Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, the art of Matt Smith, and the expert colors of Dave Stewart and you have yourself a perfect spooky story. Out this week is Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. Long Night at Goloski Station, which features demons, werewolves, and an old man’s promise.
This is a good story that sets the mood wonderfully and it will make your hairs stand on end throughout. It opens with Hellboy getting off a train at Goloski. He meets up with an old man who happens to have a wolf head in his bag and who keeps details to himself. The head belongs to a professor Hellboy was planning to meet, but instead of duking it out, Hellboy takes a seat and hears him out. It’s a classic example of a story within a story weaving in the Baba Yaga and a great tale involving the devil dressed as a goat. Set in a cold snowy night, Mignola and Smith masterfully grab your interest, juke left when you think they’ll go right, and continue to add layers to the Hellboy universe with lost tales like this. By the end, there’s a bonafide fairy tale in your hands that’ll spark your own imagination around the monsters that live among us.
Smith’s art along with Dave Stewart’s colors are inspired. Stewart continues to use orange so very well, making the magical elements pop while much of the world is rendered a bit drab and ordinary. A panel with dancing skeletons amongst gravestones, which don’t even factor into the story, is one of many highlights by Smith that gives the story a haunting feel. Hellboy looks spot-on and the mysterious man telling tales to him has a wise and weathered face. He’s seen monsters and it shows how Smith draws him. The action sequence is also expertly plotted cutting from Hellboy to the old man which allows the story to speed up and slow down on a dime. The tension rises even though readers will know Hellboy can’t lose which is a necessary element to make the battle matter.
If I were to nitpick I could say Hellboy is more of a bystander here, listening in on the story just like us than the main player. His name may be on the cover and he certainly has a cool fight scene, but he’s also not much of a factor in the tale. We also don’t learn anything about him.
This is yet another example of how Mike Mignola can team up with a creative team and make magic. It’s a haunting sort of tale too with a deep twist that’ll have you thinking, and wishing, for more stories like it. Pick this up for a horror story best enjoyed on Halloween night!
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