Something wicked this way comes, and it augers ill-portent for a young Hellboy in Hellboy: The Midnight Circus.
The previous story about the young Hellboy proved to be rather touching, and this one evokes a similar feeling. There’s something inherently sad about a child seeking to belong, to have a family, especially when it’s an orphaned child (which Hellboy is, demonic origin notwithstanding).
Without spoiling too much, we briefly revisit the story of Pinocchio, whose situation is made poetically similar to Hellboy’s, and from there, descend into a nightmarish, midnight circus, operated by characters who clearly have a strong knowledge of, and seemingly cryptic connections to, our young hero.
Was it all a dream? Was it real?
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus is classic Mike Mignola, firing on all cylinders. Artwise, other than its creator, Duncan Fegredo is now, firmly, THE Hellboy artist. His use of contrasting styles between Hellboy’s real world and the nightmarish world of the Midnight Circus, is highly effective, and beautiful to look at. At no point, did I think, “I wish Mike Mignola had drawn this.”
In comparing the two, Fegredo employs much more detail than Mignola, who is very high-contrast. That said, I will always wish for a Mignola-illustrated story, first. But if it comes to pass that Mignola never again puts brush to art board in the service of a Hellboy story, then it’s easily Fegredo all the way for me.
I hope that Mignola and Fegredo continue with more young Hellboy stories. It’s a rich vein to mine “” there are countless ways to go, from fun to freaky “” and I’ll buy every one of them.