Thursday, April 07, 2011

Hellboy: Masks and Monsters, a Review

Hellboy + Batman + Starman + Ghost = :\, eh, who's Starman? who's Ghost?

I wanted to like Masks and Monsters, if only because Mignola illustrated (but didn't write) a Batman & Hellboy story. Sadly, there was very little for me to enjoy in this doubly-arced collection.

The first tale is a cut & paste typical Hellboy story. Nazis are trying to revive an Elder God down in San Diablo. The BPRD disapproves. So does Starman, because the Nazi's kidnapped his genius father and are using him for malignant purposes. Batman's involved early on because the poor, manipulated scientist is giving a boring lecture in Gotham City, and Hellboy goes to investigate.

That's about it. Mignola's art even seemed less spectacular than normal. The plot was a yawn and I'm thankful this is not considered in the Hellboy canon.

The second story is about Ghost, another notable "superhero(ine)" that I'd never heard of. This piece was written by Mignola (though not illustrated by him), and it was definitely more enjoyable than the first. I enjoyed the brutal, retro Mafia bit at the beginning, and this piece had enough humor to make it almost worth the read. Sadly, some of the art was flat, but not all, and some of the plot was ridiculous.

Perhaps part of the reason I didn't care too much for this collection was because the last several volumes have been amazing. This book may be better as a standalone for someone only passably interested in Mignola's anti-hero, though there are so many other better options I can't imagine why anyone would pick this one up first. I suppose a diehard Starman or Ghost fan may like it, but if you're reading for the Caped Crusader, you're only gonna get a few scenes.

Overall, for any serious Hellboy reader, this ones easily forgettable and pointless. They can't all be wonderful.

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