The Hellboy-verse and other comic-book settings

HELLBOY: The Silver Lantern  Club by Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Christopher Mitten and Ben Stenbeck has a kind of Justice League quality in bringing together multiple Mignola Victorian-characters such as Sarah Jewell, Sir Edward Grey and Professor Bruttenholm’s Uncle Simon, who narrates various exploits of the club members to Hellboy and Bruttenholm in the 1950s (while the framing sequence is easy to place, I’ve had to guesstimate when in the 1800s the stories take place for my Hellboy Chronology). Dealing with everything from vanished men to vanished horses — not to mention Sir Edward’s obsession with the Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra — these aren’t first rank Hellboy stuff but I did enjoy them. I suspect the framing sequence is inspired by Lord Dunsany’s Jorkens stories, which use a similar set-up, but that’s only a guess.

SWORD OF HYPERBOREA by Mike Mignola, Rob Williams abd Laurence Campbell tracks the monster-slaying sword BPRD Agent Howards found across history: the caveman days, a mysterious lycanthrope in 1910, a scheme by the Heliotropic Brotherhood in 1940 and a blues man getting entangled in all this in 1952. More uneven with the 1910 and 1952 stories the best.

BLACK STAR by Eric Anthony Glover and Arielle Jovellanos is an unsatisfying SF story in which the shipwrecked protagonist has to race across a hostile planet to reach an escape pod with not only the environment but another shipwrecked survivor working against her. This is grim and tense but the A plot is broken up by constant flashbacks and I got lost figuring out the backstory.

NOT ALL ROBOTS by Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr. didn’t work for me either (I find Russell’s satire very hit and miss). In the near future robots have replaced human workers but they’re required to support a human family to keep society as stable as possible. Trouble is, both humans and robots resent the arrangement and the resentment is simmering to the boiling point … This metaphor for toxic masculinity and the crisis of men just didn’t work for me the way his Flintstones did.

#SFWApro. Covers by Mignola and Steve Pugh.



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