Writer: Mike Mignola
Artists: Duncan Fegredo, Dave Stewart (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
One of the themes in all of Hellboy's adventures is his disregard for destiny. The contingencies in Hellboy's history drastically changed when he was found among ancient ruins by humans and raised as a human. The trouble is the occult civilization cannot accept his shirking of destiny, and they keep trying to force Hellboy into the slots fate has prepared for him. Hellboy continues to resist.
Darkness Calls is another attempt by butt-headed supernatural beings to force Hellboy into a role that he does not want to play. In this case, the witches of England want him to be their protector, just like his demonic father. Hellboy wants no part in this and brings the point home by gunpoint and his own indomitable willpower.
When Hellboy says no, the results are physical, and they surprise even his would-be cult of worshippers. Of course, the sorcerers and familiars have multiple cards up their sleeves, and Hellboy's simple attempts to leave the situation lead to a cliffhanger reacquainting him with another old foe.
Darkness Calls isn't just dark. It's also funny. Hellboy has pretty much defeated all the heavier monsters that lurked in the world, and these gaggles of hags and spirits are more annoying to him than threatening. Mignola does have a very powerful surprise in store for readers and Hellboy at the end, but largely the creatures in the book are mosquitoes to Hellboy. Mignola's talent for poetry can be read in the witches’ chants, and his skill at characterization can be felt in Hellboy's non-chalant attitude with regard to the supernatural and metaphysical. Both factor into the comedy through their abject contrast.
While I always prefer Hellboy written and drawn by Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo's artwork makes for an exquisite substitute. His style and Mignola's style are very much in synch.
Darkness Calls serves as a good continuation of the Hellboy saga, but this chapter is probably a little too heady a mix for newbies wanting to sample Hellboy. That said. Mignola still visually summarizes everything the reader needs within the issue.
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