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'Koshchei in Hell' #1 begins an incredible quest from Mike Mignola
Dark Horse

Comic Books

‘Koshchei in Hell’ #1 begins an incredible quest from Mike Mignola

‘Koshchei in Hell’ #1 has all the underpinnings of another great fairy tale adventure only Mignola could think up.

It’s been four years since Koshchei got his own series, but he’s back this week with Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck returning to continue his narrative. He’s been through hell and lived through fairy tale-style stories, he’s driven out of his home in the new series and sent back on a quest that assuredly will send him to Hell. And he’s doing it all on purpose!

Once again, Stenbeck draws the hell out of this series, showing off the incredible scale of monsters and a great sense of atmosphere and the weird. Colored by Dave Stewart, the opening page reveals twisted, curved roofs of a town and one light still in the dead of night. Koshchei sits reading and is disturbed by a ghost who has informed him Hellboy is no longer around, and Hell is his. He doesn’t want it.

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I highly recommend reading Sir Edward Grey: Acheron before diving into this one, as the ghost featured here was the last scene in that issue. Drawn and written by Mignola, Sir Edward Grey: Acheron is a delight.

The ghost stirs in something in Koshchei, however, and soon he’s grabbing a sword and exiting his home. Over a few pages, Stenbeck and Mignola recount some of Koshchei’s greatest adventures in previous comics. It’s a nice reminder of his incredible life and also that he’s no spring chicken. You get the sense that maybe this is his last adventure.

That said, I wasn’t sure exactly why we saw Koshchei reluctant to take over Hell and then almost immediately set out to do so. You need to infer too much to understand his motivations, leaving him harder to connect with.

'Koshchei in Hell' #1 review

What a wonderful collection of roofs.
Credit: Dark Horse

Along the way, Koshchei encounters all sorts of characters, which in some respects makes this feel like a story for those who have read most of Mignola’s work. I can’t place each character, but some have been seen before.

Even if you don’t know who they are, the mystery of the adventure and the different figures Koshchei meets suit the story’s questlike feel. This character has seen so much, and yet there is a new adventure before him.

This issue doesn’t skimp on action or awe. Soon he’s embarking on the sea, narrowly avoiding death by sea beast and carrying forward as calmly as ever. The final few pages reveal massive underwater structures reminding us in Mignola’s imagination, there are fast locations and entire cultures never before explored. Koshchei in Hell is a friendly reminder Mignola’s mythos is built on imagination, but it also inspires it in yourself as you read.

The storybook feel of Koshchei in Hell is strong, and it’s the kind of comic that feels built like the best fairy tale. Creatures abound as Koshchei embarks on an adventure that may be his last, but it’s certainly not his least fantastical. Koshchei in Hell #1 has everything you’d want in another great fairy tale adventure only Mignola could think up.

'Koshchei in Hell' #1 begins an incredible quest from Mike Mignola
‘Koshchei in Hell’ #1 begins an incredible quest from Mike Mignola
Koshchei in Hell #1
The storybook feel of Koshchei in Hell is strong, and it's the kind of comic that feels built like the best fairy tale. Creatures abound as Koshchei embarks on an adventure that may be his last, but it's certainly not his least fantastical. Koshchei in Hell #1 has everything you'd want in another great fairy tale adventure only Mignola could think up.
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Absolutely terrific art and color to set your imagination ablaze
Doesn't skimp on story or plot progression
Doesn't feel new-reader friendly although there's enough here to go on
Hard to connect with the main character and his motivations
9
Great
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