Comics like this are so good, it makes me wonder why I still read super-hero books. The Hellboy universe is obviously filled with monstrous but heroic protagonists. But they are nowhere to be found in this collection.
This book is all about the “normal” agents of the BPRD and the good work they do defending the world from monsters of all types. Mike Mignola and Scott Allie write a passel of wonderful, spooky tales, ably aided by Jason Latour, Max Fiumara, James Harren, and colorist Dave Stewart (who keeps the whole thing looking nice and uniform. This is clearly the same world in every story.)
Of the artists in this collection, I like Latour’s vampire story and Harren’s barbarian stories the best. The BPRD vampires are long game planners, and it is pretty awesome seeing them put a plot together. Even better, while the mission is dangerous and there are casualties, we see how even normal BPRD agents get the job done and live to fight another day.
The Abyss of Time is simply brilliant. With a wonderfully entertaining framing story to set things up, Mignola gets to deliver a story that is more Robert Howard than HP Lovecraft. The worlds do fit well together, but this thing might as well have starred Conan or Bran Mak Morn. Of course, since it is Mignola, there is more to the story, tying it to the modern day Hellboy universe. But man, that last page, those last few panels. Masterfully done. A real kick in the gut.
This comic is for readers who think they’ve seen it all. If you think comics can’t still impress you with new ideas and flawless execution, pick this up.
Horror comics are GOOD!