reflection

A stellar issue of adventure on an island with dinosaurs, black magic, and giant apes, all led by a youthful HB who is an absolute joy to read, and carried by great Mignolaverse visual work.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters

Review: Monkeys Vs. Dinosaurs In YOUNG HELLBOY: THE HIDDEN LAND #2

[Editor's Note] If you like what we do, please consider becoming a patron. Thank you.

Become a Patron!

Series creator Mike Mignola and co-writer Thomas Sniegoski, along with artist Craig Rosseau, colorist Dave Stewart, and letterer Clem Robins return to the Hidden Land in “Young Hellboy” #2. This issue dives deeper into the jungle and the dark magics it holds, while having a clear focus on big Golden Age adventures with dinosaurs, giant apes, and lost civilizations. With a tight and fun script and outstanding visual work, this mini-series could easily go on to be a gem in the treasure trove that is the Mignolaverse.

“After meeting a missing adventurer and being taken in by the island’s Ohnar people, Hellboy and Professor Bruttenholm delve deeper into the strange island’s mysteries. Exploring a previous civilization’s ruins reveals more about local history . . . and grabs the attention of some gruesome foes!”

Writing & Plot

Writers Mike Mignola and Thomas Sniegoski double down on the classic sources of inspration in “Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land” #2. This issue opens with, well, a young Hellboy gushing over the adventures of the Golden Age pulp adventure comic he’s been reading (in true excited child spirit), only to be dropped into such a story himself. This comics sense of paying homage to an immensely influential genre is outstanding, and the comic’s inclusion of dinosaurs, survivalist jungle women, and sentient apes all come straight from the Golden Age of adventure stories. The wonderful thing about the Mignolaverse that makes this work so well, outside of just the writers’ efforts, is how the Mignolaverse is already a melting pot of genre stories as it is. This comic fits right into the rest of the Hellboy library, as the problems that tend to follow HB, Professor Bruttenholm, and the BPRD as a whole are here as well. The later stages of the comic go into full Mignola-mode, complete with dark magics and ancient beings carrying curses. While it obviously makes sense, it’s almost disappointing leaving behind the lost island adventure even for just a moment to introduce the conflict that needs to happen in a Hellboy book. This being said though, the upcoming ultimate villain we get introduced to still looks like it could be a good time (if ultimately a predictable one). Seeing our immeasurably charming and fun to read kid Hellboy go up against his first big bad with the help of a kickass jungle-living adventurer could very well be as much of a treat as reading this single fantastic slice of excitement is.

Art Direction

Any time a Mignolaverse book is discussed, the visuals are almost always the first elements to be judged. The art has to ‘feel’ like a Mignola work, like something that fits in the the creator’s own vision for Hellboy and the world he lives in. That’s why it’s so fortunate that we have the likes of Craig Rosseau on pencils and Dave Stewart on colors for “Young Hellboy” #2. Rosseau puts together a design language that manages to pay homage to the Golden Age adventure tales we’ve discussed at length while also having that uncanny yet fascinating aesthetic that we’ve come to know from Mignolaverse comics. Rosseau’s thick pencil lines and heavy inks disguises a ton of detail in its outward simplicity. The shadows and dimensions he gives characters and environments are full of life and animation, as well as a ton of kinetic energy. The panel direction is rife with a flow that floolows its characters and draws the eyes to their persoonalities and actions, as well as making excellent framing for the action and suspenseful revelations. The colors from Dave Stewart (a regular on Hellboy universe comics) are deep and rich, but also murky and dark in a way that adds to the combination of high-energy adventure and supernatural suspense this comic aims for. Clem Robins’s letters are a familiar and clean font used by most other books in the Mignolaverse, with a dynamic font size and great as always sound effect lettering. This is a stellar looking comic with an energetic and light yet simultaneously spooky visual style that is perfect for this story.

“Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land” #2 is a blast, held aloft by an unendingly enthusiastic and fun Kid HB, a classic sense of adventure, and pitch perfect visuals work. Mignola and Thomas Sniegoski’s script is smart and delightfully fun, with a perfect blend of Golden Age action, magic, and supernatural suspense. The visuals from Craig Rosseau and Dave Stewart are gorgeous and energetic, while still abiding by the sense of uncanny weirdness that fits in with the rest of the Hellboy universe. Be sure to grab this issue when it hits stands on 3-31!

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.