on October 12, 2008
Wow, Dark Horse continues the good work with HELLBOY. This second volume, as with the first book, shows us the way this work of art was meant to be enjoyed. The oversized book is handsome, tightly bound and beautifully printed on heavy-stock paper. Sure, the book is expensive but it really is worth every cent. Dark Horse shame larger companies such as Mravel and DC in the presentation, quality and pricing of their product.
Like other readers I was disappointed with the original HELLBOY softcover editions which would fall apart after a few readings due to poor bindings but these new versions are sturdy and will look amazing on your bookshelf. The mistakes of the past have been rectified and the new editions are so different that even old fans will marvel at the way the HELLBOY tales flow across the canvas. The vast pools of black paint now almost resemble liquid velvet. And the reds erupt like pulsating lava. The book throbs in your hands!
Mike Mignola's art has never looked this gorgeous. Absolutely lovely, rich and gothic. Get this baroque horror book now and while away the dark autumn evenings as we head towards All Hallows Eve.
When Hellboy isn't saving the world from imminent destruction, he's doing a lot of little odd jobs across the world.
And by "odd jobs," I mean brief paranormal cases involving fairies, flying hunters, homunculi, "pamcakes" and disembodied heads. "Hellboy Volume 2: The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom" collects two volumes' worth of the demon anti-hero's assorted adventures, ranging from a fairy changeling to a devilish plot to conquer the world. All in a day's work.
Assorted short stories take Hellboy all over the world, and confronting many different problems -- a baby kidnapped by the faery folk, underground fiends, the malevolent witch Baba Yaga, a werewolf trapped by a centuries-old curse, the Saint Leonard worm (a dragon), a spectral huntsman followed by berserkers, a Japanese house full of bouncing heads, a seance gone horribly wrong, and the supervampire Varcolac.
And Hellboy heads to the ruined church where he was found -- only to dream of a dying witch, her holy children and a devil that sought the witch's "chained coffin." Turns out it has something to do with Hellboy's own origins. Not to mention an ancient, mysterious drawing provided by a priest of the "right hand of doom" -- which looks suspiciously like Hellboy's own hand.
And two bigger jobs loom over Hellboy -- after losing her fire powers to a strange homunculus, Liz Sherman is slowly dying. To save her, Hellboy sets out to find the homunculus, only to find that his crazed megalomaniac "elder brother" is planning to use Kate to bring a new, vast homuculus body to life.
And a demon (which looks suspiciously like a housefly) sealed into a box is stolen from a secret compartment, and is soon "serving" a human master. Turns out they want to lure Hellboy to that place, in the hopes of stealing the evil, apocalyptic powers that he has already renounced.
Mike Mignola is awesome at full-length graphic novels, but his shorter works are even better -- these are lean, compact little action stories with nothing more or less than they need. And it's sort of nice to see Hellboy's more ordinary cases -- if you can call these ordinary -- with foes like a changeling, a werewolf, the fairies and even a dragon.
Mignola's writing doesn't suffer from the shorter format, especially since he happily adapts some folktales to fit his world (legends, fairy tales, saints). There's wonderfully sick dialogue ("I'VE LOST MY ARRRRRRMMM!" "I'm sorry. Really. But... do you really need it? I mean, you're already dead and we've gotta go...") and some poignant moments (Hellboy musing on his "destiny"). Naturally, also plenty of bloody, horrific moments including a a chapel haunted by werewolves, a vampire that can "eat the moon," and a man turning into a giant lizard.
Hellboy is basically your average investigator in most of these stories -- he goes in, gets the job done and fixes things (occasionally being mistaken for Father Christmas). He's a nice straightforward kind of guy with a gruff manner, but Mignola reminds us at times that he has some unhappier facets ("You know how I live? I never deal with what I am").
And Mignola gives us some glimpses into where the "favorite son" may have come from, and the destiny he is still determined to avoid forever. It's pretty ghastly at times. At the same time, we get the hilarious "Pancakes" story, in which Hellboy's reluctant first bite leads to, ahem, hell-raising results.
"Hellboy Volume 2: The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom" collects many of Mignola's brilliant briefer stories, with a full range of Hellboy's smaller-scale cases.
on May 30, 2012
Firstly, let me tell you about the physical book since many will have already read these stories. To put it simply the best presentation I have seen outside the absolute editions of DC. Since I do not own any of those books I must say this currently holds the title of most beautiful book I own - or rather tired with the Hellboy Library Edition Vol. 1. Thick pages, sewn binding, hard thick cover, beautifully colored.
To the art. Its Mignola. He has a distinct style. I find it brilliant. Sometimes I wish his faces were more expressive, but overall I think the art is so on par with the feel of the stories and unlike anything else out there that I cannot get enough. He slows it down often and makes you take in everything he has drawn. These drawings are probably not as detailed as the first volume, but they are still beautiful.
As for the stories, plot, and dialogue. The plots are eclectic. They draw on a legends from around the world, although mostly English, and have are each unique enough to not make them feel repetitive when read in succession. Many of my favorite are those that do not significantly move along the "main plot" or the Hellboy story, but just explore Myth, Magic, and the world of Hellboy. The dialogue is good and there are only a few moments throughout the book that come off a little awkward.
Since this book has so many different stories I am going to treat each one individually on a 1-5 level:
Pancakes: 3/5 Short little two pager. Nothing overly special, but it is pretty damn funny.
Nature of the Beast: 3/5 Another shorter story. It is nice, but not the rice and protein of this collection.
King Void: 4/5 I like this story. It is pretty simple, but the mythology is strong.
The Corpse: 5/5 As he mentions in his afterward. Many consider this Mignola's best story. I can see why. It is not mine, but it is a great one.
The Iron Shoes: 3/5 Much like the first two stories this is shorter. In lesser hands these stories could be just filler, but they are still fun and enjoyable from Mignola even if not excellent.
The Baba Yaga: 4/5 Nice mix in of more Russian mythology and a figure that comes up elsewhere in the series
Heads: 4/5 Fun little story that has a different feel than the others. Set in Japan it still is dark and Gothic, but less European.
Goodbye Mister Tod: 3/5 Good story. Good subtle world building.
The Varcolac: 4/5 Very good story. I like the idea of a more extensive mythology of vampires especially since most modern vampire stories are so streamlined.
A Christmas Underground: 2/5 The only story in the collection I found sub-par plot wise. I like the set up, but at times it is hard to fully follow what is going on and who exactly the enemy is. For a one off short story this ambiguity was not my style.
The Chained Coffin: 4/5 Good look into Hellboy's past. Nice myth.
The Wolves of Saint August: 5/5 This is not the best story in the collection, but it is my favorite. It is not perfect, but I love the mythic setup and story.
Almost Colossus: 4/5 Good story. Has my favorite page of the collection. Plot is great and builds off of Wake the Devil.
The Right Hand of Doom: 4/5 Good back story focus on Hellboy's physique.
Box Full of Evil: 4/5 I like it. I like the magic and the demon mythology in it.
Overall this is a four out of five. Mostly great stories. Amazing artwork. Great collection. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection.
on August 22, 2013
I love the variety in this book. While longer, more epic stories of his can be fun, the short stories really expand the world for the reader. The varied folklore it draws from just makes it feel so much more "real". Great for fans of Hellboy, gothic literature, adventure, folklore, and those with a pulse.
on March 11, 2014
when i purchased this, i knew it was a hard cover and slightly larger. but when i finally saw it (this is my first library edition) it kinda blew my mind. it is large, for a graphic novel with plenty of room for the art on the page. a bit cumbersome to hold due to the size and weight, but totally awesome in all the ways a quality book should be.
on October 4, 2011
What can I say about "Hellboy Library Edition, Vol. 2" that I didn't already say in my review of "Hellboy Library Edition, Vol. 1"? I guess I could talk about how this volume is full of short stories instead of novel length stories(as was the case with vol.1). This collection of the volume 3 and 4 trade paperbacks is chock-full of creepy, fun-filled weird/fantasy/horror/action tales(that's the shortest way I can describe Mignola's genre-bending stories) that are so vivid and unforgettable that you'll be sad when you get to the end. It doesn't hurt that the quality of the book is beyond description and must be seen and held to be fully appreciated. Or that it is heaven for fans of bonus artwork, commentary, etc.
Mignola's art style is the same as it was in vol.1- which is a great thing! Trust me. His drawings are dynamic, creating a timpani, or rhythm if you will, that combines a look of streamlined iconography and abstract essentials with a realism(which I wouldn't call retinal art, which I believe to be photorealistic, but is along those lines in terms of portraying things as we see them with our eyes) that makes for a distinct and beautiful style. Working closely with Dave Stewart(probably the greatest colorist of all-time), Mignola conveys mood through colors. The use of synesthetics to create things like nervous yellows, placid blues, claustrophobic blacks, and angry reds all add to the emotional rollercoaster you hop on when reading Mignola's comics.
In short, the library editions of "Hellboy" are must-haves for any graphic novel collector, fan of Mike Mignola, or fan of weird/fantasy/horror/action stories. These stories are all gems(particularly "Heads" - I REALLY love that one!). And these gems are invaluable. So, for what Amazon is asking, it shouldn't take you long to pony up the dough and treat yourself to some top-notch storytelling. Oh, and reading them this time of year(it is approaching Halloween) makes them all the more fun!
on March 17, 2012
Giant glorious pages! A story flow that allows the one offs to be paired with the central story! A wonderful hardcover! Fabulous. The only complaint some may have is the sheer size of the volume, making it necessary to pretty much read on a flat surface. Other than that, no complaints from me, I've always felt the shorter collections were lacking in some way and this is the first library collection I've read and it feels like a revelation. Definitely will be buying every volume in this series.