Expected Publication: October 23rd, 2013
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus
By: Mike Mignola (Story) & Duncan Fegredo (Illustrator) & Dave Stewart (Colorist)
Dark Horse Comics
Young Hellboy runs away from the B.R.P.D. only to stumble upon a weird and fantastical circus and the few demons from Hell who inhabit it.
The synopsis is really brief on this particular graphic novel, which makes sense as it's only 58 pages long on the whole. I myself have a favorite superhero and Hellboy is that superhero. I like that he came from the pits of Hell, but was raised to be a force for good. The backstory of Hellboy's life and world is some of the best stuff Dark Horse has published in my opinion. I have a serious soft spot for young Hellboy, so I was bouncing off the walls when I saw this available for request on NetGalley! Young Hellboy is feeling like he doesn't really fit in at the B.R.P.D. and everyone treats him like a child. They won't let him do anything, Professor Broom is never around AND one of his babysitters has just made Hellboy read Pinocchio instead of his favorite comic. This makes Hellboy think about whether or not he's a real boy and what his place in the world is. So Hellboy decides that he'll leave and find somewhere else he can be useful; somewhere he can do something. Running away, he finds a circus that sets up between midnight and one a.m. Of course it happens to be staffed by demons, who must decide whether or not to take Hellboy as one of their own or leave him to fate. Also, Hellboy has a run in with the ghosts of some 1930s child murderers. Will he make it back to Professor Broom?
I absolutely LOVED that this story was written by Mignola (even if the artwork wasn't his, it was in his style as well) and the note before the start of the book tells us where the idea came from, and why he contrasts Hellboy with Pinocchio. I never really made a comparison between the two myself, but after reading this I could definitely see the parallels in their lives/experiences. The circus and its demons were absolutely creepy and the sinister silence of that hour was wonderfully illustrated. The animals in cages were particularly memorable for me. I liked that even when Hellboy decides to go back to the B.R.P.D. he runs into trouble with the child murderer ghosts near the train tracks. But my favorite part (other than Hellboy protesting the thought of reading something other than his comic! :) is the moment between Hellboy and Professor Broom at the end, who are so deeply entwined as Father and Son that their relationship is entirely beautiful. The comforting embrace at the end coveys that depth of feeling. Overall, my only real complaint with this one is the length. I would love to own a copy for myself when it's released but wish that it had been at least twice as long. The allusions to Hellboy's future destiny might confuse new readers, but I recommend this to older fans who miss the days when Mignola had the reigns. It was good to be thrown back, even for just fifty pages, into the golden era.
VERDICT: 4/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is October 23rd, 2013.*