Young girls have been disappearing in the cities of Siam. Inspectors Sandhu and McAllister are on the case, and their trail leads them to two other curious monster hunters (one of whom (Sarah Jewell) McAllister knew as a kid—in a traumatizing circumstance). Together, they will try their best at infiltrating the bloodthirsty cult with an ancient evil power: The Cult of the Black Flame!
Mignola and Roberson are able to incorporate a lot of different elements into this script, like religion, familiar characters, and strange creatures. When a comic book can kick start my own imagination, I know it’s a damn good one.
In terms of religion, the Hindu goddess Kali is mentioned—in horrible context. Although Kali is a symbol of time, change, creation, power, preservation, and ultimately destruction, Mignola and Roberson associate her with blood sacrifice and cultism. It’s a warp on the Hindu religion, but it makes for a great story!
Like another series being released right now from Dark Horse (Witchfinder: City of the Dead), Edward Grey is mentioned as a talented hunter. I’m hoping the two series might meet somewhere in between, even though right now, Mr. Grey is working with zombies. His enemies (the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra) are also mentioned, but not in great detail.
The creatures featured in this issue range from supernatural to mythical. We see flashbacks of killer Octopi, Poltergeists, Manticores, and more. Although this was mainly to give background information on Ms. Jewell and her credentials, I really, really hope we get to see more enticingly creepy creatures.
The script flows really well, with a lot of smooth character interaction. Mignola and Roberson have definitely made us wonder about this cult. Without even having seen much intrigue about the goings on in the cult, we are already curious as to what they are, how they came to be, and why they do the things they do.
Artist Christopher Mitten illustrates this issue alongside veteran colorist, Dave Stewart. Together, the two are able to achieve a very suspenseful tone throughout the issue. With varying line weights, Mitten gives us characters that aren’t exactly realistic, but not cartoonish, either. This is an art style that, while showing a lot of emotion, can easily be deemed unbelievable. This isn’t a bad thing! We know we’re reading something fantastical, something that can pick us up and take us away from reality into another journey that we simply can’t get enough of.
Mignola has a knack for blending action, adventure, and horror into one cohesive, entertaining story. Even if the storyline of “kids start to go missing from a town—whodunit?” isn’t a new one by any means, Mignola is still going to put his dark, twisted flair onto it and make it a unique series. This series is no exception to his masterful craft, and that’s a good thing. The creative team has done a fabulous job on this series, and given us yet another flawless excerpt from the pages of Hellboy.
Written by: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Illustrated by: Christopher Mitten