Hellboy: Darkness Calls by Mike Mignola
Cover concept by Lorenzo Princi, 3rd October 2013

Hellboy: Darkness Calls

Author: Mike Mignola
Artist: Duncan Fegredo

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

If there is such a thing as by the numbers when it comes to Hellboy, this one is it. Mignola goes deep into the world of Russian myth and folklore which is a fresh change from the Nazi/Lovecraftian themes and perhaps the darkest of all Hellboy outings. Darkness Calls is packed with action, mythology, continuity and a good deal of character development for Hellboy, yet it seemed to be missing something. Fegredo does a good enough job taking over the artwork reigns despite many negative reviews of his work.

Throughout the epic volume I felt a lack of the eerie tension which Mignola usually delivers, it all seems a bit forced here as you never really feel that Hellboy is in any danger, which albeit, is difficult to do since he is a demon, however, since no other characters from the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) are present as we are into the Hellboy solo era here, there isn't really any we care about in immediate danger.

By volume 8 I was looking for more than just Hellboy versus demon-of-the-week battles, even if they are interesting enough in their execution. The impeding apocalypse of Hellboy's destiny seems as far as ever despite the constant references. A slight frustration was also that Darkness Calls seems to tip the balance of mythological character and legend over the actual overarching Hellboy arc and it's the kind of issue that needs one to keep re-reading passage to follow what is going on, but it doesn't matter anyway, since you feel a reset button is coming at the end.

In summary - good action and mystical intrigue if a little thin on the tension.