Available Wednesday, July 4th in bookstores & July 5th in comic book shop, the creative team for this collected edition features writing from Mike Mignola & Thomas Sniegoski, art from Craig Rousseau, colors by Chris O’Halloran, and lettering from Clem Robins, and collects the four-issue miniseries.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…
YOUNG HELLBOY: Assault on Castle Death HC
Cover Art & Chapter Break Art by Matt Smith
Genre: Horror, Crime, Action/Adventure
Format: FC, 112 pages; TPB, 7″ x 10″
Age range: 14+
Bookstore release date: 7/4/23
Comic shop release date: 7/5/23
Collects the four-issue miniseries.
Having returned from their adventures on a secret island, Hellboy and the Professor move with the B.P.R.D. from New Mexico to Connecticut. The relocation is tough on Hellboy: is he just homesick, or have scrambled memories from the island gripped the supernatural whippersnapper? Meanwhile, word of Hellboy’s survival has also reached an unknown enemy, who failed to kill him once before but is determined not to be foiled again . . .
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
YOUNG HELLBOY: Assault on Castle Death HC
Return to the world of Hellboy and take a trip back to when everyone’s favorite horn-headed superhero was just a kid! Thrill to the excitement as Hellboy encounters danger, daring-do, and the infamous costumed crime-fighter known as Lobster Johnson! Fans of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. will get a kick out of the standout script from Mike Mignola & Thomas Sniegoski!
Writing: Mike and Thomas have teamed up on different projects within the Hellboy world, one of the most noteworthy being B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth. It is genuinely refreshing to have them teamed up again and going back into the past, but this time with a different approach and telling an entirely different tale. Hellboy is written as a plucky and spirited youth, full of wisecracks, and childhood excitement. And while it comes across as a stark contrast to the more embittered and world-weary character audiences have been reading about for years, there are glimmers and flashes of the man he will become. To Mike and Thomas, a resounding job well done!
Art: Craig Rousseau has been on the scene for a long time, and his art is keen. He has an excellent grasp of physicality and a keen eye for detail that has been a constant in his work since the beginning. However, there is one issue that this reviewer has with Craig’s art style, that being it does not fit well within the world of Hellboy, even within the context of a story taking place during his childhood. It may be because when reading comics about ‘Red,’ even something happening long ago, there is an expectation that the art style be a little more grim and gritty instead of childlike and even plucky. And I may be too overly critical. However, Craig’s art just does not do it for me.
Colors: Chris O’Halloran is a capital colorist with a long list of luminous accomplishments. Having previously enjoyed his work complimenting Matt Smith’s art for Hellboy: The Bones of Giants, it was lovely having him back. And while Craig’s art doesn’t do it for me with this particular story, Chris’s color choices are acceptable. One of the things he absolutely nails is the consistency of Hellboy’s skin tone throughout the book. Even when a page has him in the shadows, or the light is reduced, that shade of red stays the same. Because let’s face it, fans, if you have any artistic background, you know there are a lot of different shades of red in the world. The fact that Chris found the right one for his palette choice and stuck with it is commendable.
Letters: Having reviewed books where Clem Robins has worked as the letterer, it goes without saying that he brings his A-game with this delightful story. Whenever young Hellboy speaks, the letters are more childlike, even though they are no different from the dialogue of Professor Bruttenholm or Lobster Johnson. Letterers must take the scripts given to them and provide the characters a proper voice with their craft. So it is no surprise that Robins went above and beyond to imbue Hellboy with the energy, skepticism, and curiosity that all children seem to have before they grow up. High marks for Clem.
Childhood is a beautiful time. Adventure seems to be around every corner, and the world is a great and glorious place waiting to be explored. And while there is darkness at times, children can often surprise us with their resilience to the shadows and being very brave in the face of evil. The creative team of this delightful Young Hellboy tale illustrates this concept wonderfully. And while the art style does not meet my own particular sensibilities concerning such things, it should be a reason for people to pick up this book for their Hellboy collections. It embodies all the best qualities audiences have learned to love about this world. It would make a fine addition to any personal library.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
About Dark Horse Comics:
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics is an excellent example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and transform a company with humble beginnings into an industry giant. Over the years, Dark Horse has published the work of creative legends such as Yoshitaka Amano, Margaret Atwood, Paul Chadwick, Geof Darrow, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Dave Gibbons, Faith Erin Hicks, Kazuo Koike, Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Kentaro Miura, Moebius, Chuck Palahniuk, Wendy Pini, Richard Pini, and Gerard Way. In addition, Dark Horse has a long tradition of establishing exciting new creative talent throughout all of its divisions. The company has also set the industry standard for quality licensed comics, graphic novels, collectibles, and art books, including Stranger Things, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, Minecraft, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Dragon Age, James Cameron’s Avatar, Game of Thrones, Mass Effect, StarCraft, The Witcher, and Halo. Today, Dark Horse Comics is one of the world’s leading entertainment publishers.