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Witchfinder Volume 1: In the Service of Angels Paperback – April 20, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Most of you may know that I'm a huge Mignola fan. I haven't read everything yet, but soon enough I will.
This is about Sir Edward Grey, serving under the Queen of England in Victorian times. I can't remember the exact year, anyway it doesn't terribly matter. It's a great book. It's definitely not boring, but not the most exciting Mignola work either. He comes upon a case of a vengeful spirit that can manifest itself physically. It also has some to do with The Hollow Earth story that some of you may have read in BPRD Volume One (if you haven't, it's okay, you can read one or both without any confusion) which I personally find pretty damn cool and I hope as I read more from the Mignola-verse they expand more on that story.
It reminded me a little bit of Solomon Kane, as Grey is a firm believer in the Bible and God and Jesus, and uses his faith as a weapon against the dark sometimes. Sometimes he uses a sword. Other times a gun. Whichever works best! lol
It's not as DARK and gloomy as a Hellboy book, but not as lighthearted as a BPRD either. A nice fair medium. Check it out!
To start with, the book is essentially identical to other Dark Horse TPBs in size and print quality. The pages run on the slightly light side, the print quality is good, and the binding is glued. In the past I have experienced hallboy TPBs losing their covers without a great deal of abuse, but the print itself is very good.
The next thing I noticed when I opened the book was the art. It has echoes of Mignola's sharp lines and heavy shadows, but there are times when I feel like the illustrations are clean as a result of a lack of character than style. Overall, I would rate him slightly below the other artists that have done a lot of work on Hellboy (Davis, Jason Shawn Alexander, Mignola, and Fegredo) but the "slightly" in there is more of a complement: those guys are amazing. Where Fegredo tends to deviate more towards detail in his style, Stenbeck tends to leave things very clean. I think it works fairly well, and overall the illustration adds a lot to the book as any decent graphic novel should.
The story is where I really felt torn. Many of the hellboy stories are a rush through strangeness without a lot of explanation, but this story felt like the paranormal occult bits were blasted through and skimmed over even more than most. A lot of time is spent developing Grey as a character, and I did enjoy that. What I think really bothered me is you get the sense of some great impending conflict with a secret society with hints of how massive and powerful it is... only to have the story end without resolution and a page epilogue that wraps up 10 years of conflict into a single textbox or two. It felt awkward and limiting, as though the story were over and done and unlikely to be revisited but still woefully incomplete. That's my main criticism of this particular book.
Still, it's a very enjoyable read. It is definetely a good thing to pick up if you're engrossed in hellboy, or possibly if you're into Victorian occult detectives. If you're interested in Hellboy, I'd recommend starting with the first Hellboy TPB, and if you've been following Hellboy I'd highly recommend The Drowning if you haven't read it already. I'm glad I bought this, and I'm sure it will be reread many times, but I didn't get quite the thrill I did from Seed of Destruction, Conqueror Worm, The Drowning, or Darkness Calls.