Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club One-Shot
The team behind the Eisner Award-winning one-shot Hellboy: Krampusnacht spins a new ghostly yarn! Hellboy comes to the aid of a young girl whose ghost hunt goes wrong, and a visit to an abandoned medical school reveals sinister layers to a grisly, long-ago murder. Stolen cadavers, vengeful spirits, and more abound in this one-shot.
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola reunites with fan-favorite artist Adam Hughes for a spirit-fueled scream fest sure to excite old and new fans alike!
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. are back in a new ghostly one-shot that explores the consequences of sneaking into haunted houses for fun. Originally announced back in August of 2019, it’s taken some time to finally get our hands on this story but if there is one thing that’s for sure, it is definitely worth the wait!
The premise is one that strikes a classic tone for the iconic character, putting Hellboy into a long dead spiritual conflict that arguably requires more brawn than brains. After Jane gets herself into a bit of trouble by getting in too deep at Walter Wakeman’s old house trying to discover more about his rumored seven wives, we see Hellboy team up with B.P.R.D. field agent Pauline Raskin to find out what’s really going on. Mignola weaves in the expected folklore influences to kick things off but follows up on it with an evolution of the Seven Wives Club that brings a haunting new perspective on the story.
For fans of Hellboy, this is one that I would call comfort reading. It’s a one-shot that knows what it needs to be and doesn’t stray too far from the already proven successful formula. Hellboy and the team learn about some horrific developments and spring into action with a predictable sense of both suspicion and hubris. What follows isn’t quite as romantic than one might assume but it is remarkably tragic. And it’s in this sense of tragedy that the story is able to find its footing with both heart and just enough intrigue to keep you engaged.
The artistic vision of this book has an incredible level of nuance in the foreboding ventures into the haunted tale of the Seven Wives Club that helps to flesh the story out more effectively than the dialogue could hope to achieve. Ghostly tales steeped in a certain level of unknown mystery have always worked well for Hellboy (despite his own grievances towards them) and that is certainly the case here. However, as vivid and spectacular as Hughes artwork is in this one-shot, I couldn’t help but feel Hellboy appears too grisly and ragged. He lacked the charm that often accompanies his rough exterior and it became noticeable in the climax of the issue. Even then, the environment, ghouls and epic fight are all wonderful to look at.
Mignola expectedly pulls off a powerful story within the confines of a single issue, delivering everything you might want and even summing up the lasting impression with Hellboy’s line “That’s what I hate about ghosts — you never really know what the hell is going on”. As readers, we might not completely understand the mechanics of what transpires but it’s truly entertaining nonetheless. The star of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club one-shot is undoubtedly letterer Clem Robins though. Panel after panel are treated to a masterclass in what letters can bring to comics from succinct dialogue placement to simply awesome SFX that elevate the story in all the right ways. This one-shot just wouldn’t be the same without such a uniquely noticeable execution of letters from Robins.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club isn’t reinventing the wheel by any means but it’s an exercise of consistently great execution from everyone involved to deliver a memorable story. What is lacks in diving into the greater lore of the franchise is made up for with pure excitement and an emphasis on mystery that makes the issue a real page turner. There aren’t many creators who can pull off a one-shot story quite as well as Mignola and this issue a prime example of the type of quality we’ve all come to love from his work on Hellboy. Is it strange that a ghost story ends in a brawl and even a firefight? Maybe, but then again, just like Hellboy said when it comes to ghosts you never really know what the hell is going on…
The best way to find out though is to pick this book up yourself and enjoy!
Hellboy and the BPRD: The Seven Wives Club One-Shot perfectly displays the quality we've all come to love from Mignola's work on the iconic character, giving readers a ghost story to remember with vivid artwork from Adam Hughes and truly inspiring lettering from Clem Robins.
Hellboy and the BPRD: The Seven Wives Club One-Shot: That’s What I Hate About Ghosts
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 10/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9.5/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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