ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Hellboy: The Bones of Giants,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hellboy: Bones of Giants #1

Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #1 is published by Dark Horse Comics and is based on the novel of the same name by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. It is written by Mignola and Golden, illustrated by Matt Smith, colored by Chris O’Halloran, and lettered by Clem Robins. In 1988, a mysterious thunderstorm strikes Sweden, leading to the sudden appearance of a corpse with a hammer clutched in its hand. Hellboy, along with Abe Sapien and other members of the B.P.R.D., are sent to investigate. However, when Hellboy touches the hammer, it mysteriously welds itself to his hand and reveals itself to be Mjolnir, and its wielder is the Thunder God Thor, who perished in the fires of Ragnarok.

Golden has said that the reason Bones of Giants is receiving a comic adaptation is that Smith wanted to draw it. Smith is best known for his creator-owned comic Barbarian Lord, which was inspired by Hellboy, so in a sense, he’s come full circle here. As befitting a story steeped in Norse mythology, the pages are full of blood, violence, and jaw-dropping images, all of which Smith captures in intricate detail. For example, a dream sequence features Hellboy witnessing the tail end of Ragnarok, where Thor kills the massive serpent Jorgumander by splitting its head in two with a single blow from Mjolnir. Smith also gives his take on Thor and Mjolnir, which hews closer to the original myth, as Thor is depicted with a thick red beard and Mjolnir is shaped more like a T.

All of it is rendered in rich color by O’Halloran. O’Halloran utilizes different colors for different settings; Sweden is covered in a blanket of bluish-white snow, and a reddish filter over the Ragnarok dream signifies the blood and violence associated with the “Twilight of the Gods.” Bolts of white-hot lightning also fill certain panels as Mjlonir’s power is unleashed. Hellboy and Abe are constant standouts in any scene, thanks to Hellboy’s reddish skin and Abe’s dark blue skin and webbed gills. And as Hellboy’s speech starts to resemble Thor’s, Robins depicts his words in a script that resembles Nordic writing, with the letters looking more like brushstrokes.

Mignola has slowly been co-writing miniseries about Hellboy’s youth and early years of operation, but this is one of the few times he’s adapted a novel he’s co-written. Golden and Mignola’s script slowly builds up the mystery of the dead Thunder God and Hellboy’s investigation while also peppering the story with the strange details that you can only find in a Hellboy story. Once gaining possession of Mjolnir, Hellboy starts to act like Thor, even threatening to harm people who approach him. He and Abe seek answers about the hammer from an old colleague with whom Hellboy has a history. And a squirrel warns Hellboy about the end of the world. You read that right; an actual talking squirrel is in this comic. Hellboy puts it best: “I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff. That’s just my life.”

Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #1 is a solid start to an adaptation of the novel it’s based on, as the world’s greatest paranormal investigator is swept into a web of mystery and mythology. And judging from the last page, it looks like Ragnarok is only the beginning for Hellboy.

Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #1 is available wherever comics are sold November 3rd.


Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #1 
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TL;DR

Hellboy: The Bones of Giants #1 is a solid start to an adaptation of the novel it’s based on, as the world’s greatest paranormal investigator is swept into a web of mystery and mythology. And judging from the last page, it looks like Ragnarok is only the beginning for Hellboy.