From the creative powerhouses of Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes comes the long-delayed Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club. Originally slated for a December 2019 release, this one-shot finally hits comic stands this week and serves as the latest collaboration between Mignola and Hughes. Their previous collaborative efforts yielded 2017’s Eisner winning Hellboy: Krampusnacht, which depicted “the ultimate showdown between who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.” Due to the quality of the duo’s past output, my hopes were high going into this issue, and I am happy to report The Seven Wives Club exceeds all expectations.
Set against the backdrop of Savanah, Georgia, the issue kicks off with an innocent girl’s ghost hunt gone wrong. When the young girl chalks up her crimes to vengeful spirits, Hellboy and B.P.R.D. agent Pauline Raskin take the case. Their investigation takes them to a long abandoned medical facility and its long buried secrets. It’s a gripping ghost tale only Mignola could conjure, brimming with the horrors of demonic rituals, restless spirits, and stolen cadavers.
It’s safe to say that Mignola has been one of the most prolific horror writers of the past 25 years. His knack for short form storytelling has led to some of the best one-off horror stories, and The Seven Wives Club is no different. The story is tense and tightly woven, as Mignola’s narrative grips you from the first panel and fully immerses readers into his twisted world. The writing particularly shines as Mignola builds up the tension to horrifying revelations. Given the current industry standard of decompressed narratives, it is refreshing to see Mignola stay true to his roots and deliver a complete one-off story.
All of this is beautifully depicted by Hughes. He brings his signature painted style artwork to the book to wonderful effect. Though his style is a far departure from Mignola’s own exaggerated gothic sensibilities, it does not detract from the work but instead sets it apart from the traditional Hellboy story. His crisp and detailed linework gives the book a cinematic flair. When it comes to the action beats, Hughes imbues the story a frenetic and visceral pace that doesn’t let go.
Hughes’ colors equally benefit the issue. From the hazy greens of the spirits to Hellboy’s signature shade of red, Hughes’ coloring breathes life into the book. This becomes especially prevalent towards the end as raging infernos seem to leap off the pages. The level of artistic craft on display here astounds in every aspect.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the remarkable lettering by Clem Robins. Robins is another industry veteran who has worked with Mignola in the past. He goes above and beyond in his layout of onomatopoeias and only makes the story more evocative. There were several points where the combination of Hughes’ artwork and Robins’ lettering crescendo in spectacular fashion. Their pairing exemplifies two artists wonderfully working in tandem.
Experts of their respective crafts, Mignola, Hughes, and Robins have truly delivered a fantastic one-shot. From the gruesome mystery that lays at the story’s core to the exemplary artwork, everything in this book works together beautifully. Though an oversized one-shot could have given the story a bit more breathing room, the issue works well regardless. Do not miss out on this terrific entry into the Hellboy mythos.
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