Hellboy in Hell #8: Hounds of Pluto Part 2 was an issue I was eagerly awaiting. It pains me to say this, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. Although Mike Mignola’s artwork was solid, and Dave Stewart’s color selections were just as appropriate this time as they had been in previous issues, the plot progression left something to be desired. In a lot of ways, this comic fell short. A great chunk of the pages were committed to explanations of events in Hellboy’s past. This would have been reasonable if the events being described were simply in the Hellboy in Hell arc and was intended to privy readers who weren’t current on the last seven issues. Unfortunately, Mignola opted to take the reader back even further.
Essentially, the reader was given an explanation into Hellboy’s name and origin story. Eventually the flashbacks/storytelling segments which feature later in the book tell stories about more recent events such as what happened to his half-siblings and uncle. Was there a practical need for these glimpses into the far past? I don’t think so. Mike Mignola is a wonderful writer, he has much better tools at his disposal to explain things or remind readers of plot events than to rely on the simple “and this this happened, and then that happened” narrative. It doesn’t feel genuine.
Add to this feeling the fact that the fight scene in the issue (That’s right. There’s only one.) was just a few panels long and ended with more of a whimper than a bang. While the introduction of a “new” character and creature was interesting, this issue felt more like a transition piece than something that needed its own full issue. The next issue in this series might redeem it, but as of right now Hounds of Pluto could have easily been one issue, in my humble opinion.
If you absolutely want or need this volume in your collection, so be it. Personally, I think you’d be fine waiting for the next issue or a trade if you only want the story. However, I think those of us with limited comic budgets should purchase other issues this week. (Might I suggest one of the Lady Killer issues or Hellbound?) I’m not ready to abandon Hellboy in Hell just yet, but if we don’t see some improvement in the coming weeks I might not be so inclined to stick it out. If you’ve already read #8 and have other views, please sound off in the comments. I’d love to hear other perspectives or ways to rationalize the decisions made for this issue which released September 23, 2015.
WICKED RATING: 2.5/10