Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Duncan Fegredo, Dave Stewart(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Impressed by Hellboy's courage and toughness, the Baba Yaga's undying warrior makes our hero an offer. Let him kill him. Rob Baba Yaga of the pleasure of seeing his suffering. The trouble is that Koschei last issue killed a supernatural little girl who aided Hellboy. In the spirit of Batman tossing down Batwoman's mask at the Bronze Tiger's feet, it's on.
Before this battle can continue however, the realm reminds the Baba Yaga that she doesn't quite have the control she believes she has. The symbolic rebirth of color in the Baba Yaga's harsh gray Russia surprises her enemies and her allies.
Duncan Fegredo makes this moment memorable. In just two panels he replicates the illusion of growth. The use of space emphasizes power, and the way the objects dwarf Hellboy recreate the essence of majesty on the pages. In a latter scene forcing the perspective of the Baba Yaga's image in the foreground against the new growth in the background indicates that this is only a win of one battle, and the art foreshadows the Baba Yaga's persistence.
Back in England three weird figures gather the pieces, and a giant, tired of bloodshed, retires. What this means for Hellboy is anybody's guess. The scene bears Mignola's sense of the macabre. Fegredo could have easily turned these creatures into comical beasts. Instead, he compliments Mignola's ideas by giving them eerie little flourishes and swathing them shadow to hint at their potential menace. Dave Stewart delivers impact to the scene through his startling bursts of red in flashback.
Back in the Baba Yaga's Russia, the arch witch forces the battle in truly one of the most disturbing images ever seen in comics. That was disgusting, and Fegredo and Mignola milk the scene for all its worth. The end result is an exhilarating battle steeped in flame and light.
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