Mignola and Roberson are back with Ghost Moon, a new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics that is set during some of Hellboy’s earliest missions with the B.P.R.D. In this issue, the B.P.R.D. head to Hong Kong at the request of a friend of Professor Bruttenholm’s. Once they get there, though, two Chinese demons are waiting for them. They prove to be worthy adversaries, maybe even too much so. Elsewhere, someone is trying to sacrifice souls for supernatural powers. Will the B.P.R.D. be able to free the souls in time?
There’s one thing about this issue that really made me appreciate the script. Not only is it a good fiction story, but the realistic element of history comes into play quite a bit. I can respect the research it took to make this story so believable. For instance, the Hunping that is mentioned in the script isn’t just a random word that Mignola and Roberson thought up. In Chinese, the word literally translates to “soul jar” or “soul vase,” a ceramic urn used to carry the deceased into the afterlife (and that the soul itself would reside inside the vessel) within the Han and Jin Dynasties, as well as the Six Dynasties periods of Imperial China.
The realism of this historical component is uncanny. Churilla’s illustrations of the Hunping are spot on, from the carvings to the filigree to the handles and even the characters’ reactions to it. This one, small object carries so much power, and the creative team doesn’t let us forget it.
Mignola and Roberson’s dialogue makes the B.P.R.D. seem like a really tight-knit group of friends. Hellboy talks in a really informal way to his teammates, and they do the same. Sure, this issue depicts Hellboy’s earlier days with the B.P.R.D., but we can tell that he is already becoming part of the family.
Brian Churilla’s illustrations differ quite a bit from Mignola’s look that he gave Hellboy back in the day. It’s a lot less blocky and more realistic. Anatomy is taken more into account with this issue, as well as emotional actions/reactions. This means that the characters’ faces are very revealing. Aside from this, the splash page that is featured at the center of the issue is freaking glorious. Its depiction of torture and Hell itself evokes a fear and uneasiness that is unparalleled by any other panel in the issue.
This is a great story for any Hellboy fans. We know how his story started, and we know his fame. But what about the events that happened in between? This series shows us just that. Hellboy working his way up to the iconic name he now has. For horror fans everywhere, this is a must-read, so head out to your local comic shop and give it a read!
Written by: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Illustrated by: Brian Churilla