Comic Fodder

Darkness Calls for Hellboy

It's a heavy week for Dark Horse, so you can relax and nurse your Memorial Day sunburn safely indoors while reading some new comics and trades.

Hellboy: Darkness Calls #2 (of 6)

In this new miniseries, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has handed off art duties to Duncan Fegredo. This picks up the story after the last Hellboy mini, 2005's The Island. I am a newcomer to Hellboy in comics form, but I had no trouble getting into a first issue replete with occult suspense and foreboding atmosphere. The opening issue starts with various dark forces gathering--nasty old witches and conniving monks among them--while Hellboy is convalescing at an old friend's estate. He's obviously been through something pretty rough and seems a little out of it.

Walking the grounds of the estate, Hellboy comes upon a suspicious group of strangers looking for the scene of a witch hanging that occurred in the 17th century. He follows them around in a semi-bemused state without really realizing what they're up to until they manage to summon the witches from their grave, who look none to pleased with Hellboy upon their arrival above ground.

I have always been fascinated by Puritan New England and its complicated relationship with faith and the common good. And who doesn't love an ancient witch story? Ghosts, demons, and the like always seem more formidable when you know that they are areally old. They just seem scarier that way. I also like the art, especially the muted tones of Dave Stewart's colors. This Hellboy newbie enjoyed this opening issue and am looking forward to the rest of this series. For more background information with Mignola, check out this interview at

Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic #17

Zayne's troubles continue as he gets caught in the crossfire of a massive space battle. By anyone's standards, Zayne has really bad luck. I like the dialog-on-the-cover look.

Penny Arcade Volume 4: Birds are Weird

Another volume of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik's perennially amusing webcomic Penny Arcade. If you frequent gaming message boards, you have doubtless chuckled to yourself after someone posted a Penny Arcade strip skewering some aspect of videogame arcana. This volume collects strips from 2003, along with creator commentary. Highly recommended to videogaming enthusiasts; others need to catch up on 20 years or so of cultural references first. You can start by playing some Tribes.

Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection Volume 4--Jango Fett/Zam Wesell HC

The next volume in the series focuses on Episode II bounty hunters; one of them such a badass that he became the template for a galactic army of clone supersoldiers, the other unable to put some killer worms in a condo without getting herself killed. See Part I of my report on the 30th Anniversary Collection for more information.

Star Wars: Panel to Panel Volume 2

This volume is subtitled "Expanding the Universe" and focuses on the Star Wars EU. 192 pages for $19.95, though I'm not sure if it's hard or softcover since the DH site gives conflicting information. I'm really looking forward to this, as the first volume is excellent.

Conan Volume 4: The Hall of the Dead HC

200 pages of Conan for only $24.95 sounds like a deal to me, were I the swords-and-sorcery-in-comic-form type. The creators involved in this collection are impressive: Kurt Busiek, Tim Truman, Mike Mignola, Cary Nord, and Dave Stewart.

Fear Agent Vol. 2: My War

This trade collects issues #5-10 of the Fear Agent series originally published by Image. The first issue of the new Dark Horse run is scheduled to ship next week.

Mary Scary HC

An all-ages one shot hardcover. Looks pretty bizarre and impossible to summarize in a few sentences.

Usagi Yojimbo #103