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Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #4

Posted: Saturday, March 7, 2009
By: Ray Tate

Mike Mignola
Duncan Fegredo with Dave Stewart (colors)
Dark Horse Comics
I have a problem with diminutive horror threats. I don't understand Chucky for instance. You can pretty much punt him. It doesn't help when somebody gives these little devilkins super strength either. I cannot believe a doll, however demonic, can attain the leverage needed to say slam a full grown human's head into something or produce enough power to stab somebody with a knife. It just doesn't work.

There's always an exception to the rule, and that exception came from the Zuni Fetish Doll which harrowed Karen Black in a superb telemovie called Trilogy of Terror. The distance between Chucky and the Zuni Fetish Doll is a chasm. The Zuni Fetish Doll is not superhumanly endowed. It's fast. It has sharp pointy teeth and a very sharp pointy spear. It uses its height and weight for stealth to attack Karen Black from under the floor, under the sofa, under the door. It cannot tackle her. I can only behave like a land-based piranha.

This week Hellboy faces a whole horde of Zuni Fetish Dolls. Nice. You wouldn't expect a powerful red giant like Hellboy to be fazed by the tiny bastards, but they have sharp little teeth and sharp little weapons. The resulting battle is at once quirkily humorous but also quite thrilling in its own right. Hellboy is essentially facing death by a thousand razors wielded by a that many warriors. If they swarmed over him enough times, they just may be able to wear him down, maybe even kill him. Mignola however isn't willing to test the reader's patience.

The true threat of the miniscule comes not from their attacks on Hellboy but from his own fallible mortality. No matter how massive he is. One spear will hit someone precious to him, and that's what catalyzes the drama. The interaction between Hellboy and Alice, the girl actualized so well in the writing and artwork that she didn't need to be named to carry impetus in Hellboy's life. Hellboy gets a helping hand from Mab, queen of the faerie, but even this last minute save does reset the ticking clock or the feeling that Hellboy still bears the weight of the world on his shoulders.

I've been neglecting the back up tales mainly because I've been so blown away by the main story. So my apologies to Mignola and Guy Davis. This latest Russian Folk Tale focusing on the Baba Yaga is a ghoulish treat for any fan of the macabre. The erudite fan will recognize the story immediately but perhaps not with these characters.

The overall story of Hellboy advances with a potential sacrifice. Goodly characters arrive to face an evil that echoes back to a modern classic of horror in the latest Hellboy: The Wild Hunt.



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