Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hellboy and other Readings: The Platypus Reads Part CCCV

The academic year is always exhausting and with a new position this year there hasn't been much time for reading anything that's not school related. However, I have managed to slip in a few treasures nonetheless.

*Warning: Hellboy in Hell spoilers*

The first of those is the final installment of Mike Mignola's Hellboy saga: Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card. How do you end a series that has been going for twenty years? Hellboy's violent career as Anung un Rama, the World Destroyer, would argue a Big Bang. Unlike the movies, however, Mignola's Hellboy has always been more about the brooding silences and carefully worded dialog than the fights. We had our epic battle with the Dragon in The Storm and the Fury. In The Death Card, tough Hellboy harrows hell, defeats Behemoth and Leviathan, and slays the princes of Pandemonium, it is all done with a somber finality that rises above the the frenetic furor of an Avengers or Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice. In fact, when Hellboy finally calls forth all his power and fulfills his destiny, it is only seen in retrospect trough the eyes of a dying demon; a Job-like and I alone am escaped to tell thee. The rest of the comic is a closing down. We see Hellboy make peace with his two loves, Anna (who has become the spirit of the England that is to be), and The Spanish Bride (who calls out to the mountains to fall on her and the hills to cover her). His sister repudiates him and is destroyed. Most interestingly, Hellboy also meets the spirit of a priest ministering to "those in chains" who reminds Hellboy that his humanity makes possible his own redemption. This could be what is meant by the three glowing platonic solids our hero meets at the end as the stars wheel in their courses above him. Whatever it means, the final scene is genius. I've wracked my brain for years over that moment, but I cannot think of a better way for the series to end. It's beautiful.

So what now? There's still Witchfinder: City of the Dead, which I'm more than enjoying as the installments come out. I've also begun Valiant Comics' visionary cyber punk drama Rai. If you enjoyed Frank Miller's Ronin or Cartoon Network's Samurai Jack, this should be right up your ally. The visuals are like nothing I've ever seen; particularly the artist's attention to light. Hopefully, I'll have thoughts on these to share as my reading continues. In the meantime, it's good to be back online and I'll check in with you all again next time I come up for air. Platypi are, afterall, underwater creatures...

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