COMIC REVIEW: Hellboy : Krampusnacht

Given how much Krampus, the dark companion of St Nicholas has risen in popularity over the years, it was inevitable that he would cross paths with the world’s greatest paranormal investigator.

Hellboy’s story may have ended, but there are still plenty of years of Big Red’s adventures we don’t know about which Dark Horse have been expertly telling in their Hellboy and the B.P.R.D series.

Mike Mignola returns to his creation for this standalone issue set in 1970s Austria as a lonely spirit asks Hellboy to right a great wrong leading him to a confrontation with the legendary Krampus.

Hellboy’s short stories tend to focus more on visuals and atmosphere, and the plot here, such as it is may be a little sparse for some readers.

Hellboy does not appear to be in any real peril, and there are no stakes in the confrontation. However what it lacks in narrative drive, Mignola more than makes up for with his fascination with the folkloric nature of Krampus.

Besides any story where Hellboy gets to punch the crap out of a large monster is always going to be fun, even better when the art is provided by Adam Hughes.

Known primarily for his beautiful renditions of female DC/Marvel superheroes, Hughes gets to show he has a real aptitude for horror visuals.

Adam Hughes’ Krampus is a hideously creepy creation and his more organic artwork contrasts sharply with the distinctive angular look of Mignola’s Hellboy. Yet Hughes’ use of bold and vibrant colours captures the Mignola spirit easily and left this reader with a desire to see more in the future.

The issue closes out with a genuinely touching coda for longtime Hellboy readers, which acts as a reminder of how much the character has been through and lost.

A gallery is included of Hughes’ design work for the issue and a Krampus Greetings Card design by Mignola that I immediately wanted a set of to send to my loved ones and possible enemies.

Hellboy: Krampusnacht is a sparse but satisfying little story, and as one character in the issue observes “There must always be ghost stories at Christmas…” I happily recommend this one.

 

Title : Hellboy: Krampusnacht

Publisher : Dark Horse

Rating : 4/5

Reviewer: Matt Davis @MattDavoid

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