Review, Hellboy: The Midnight Circus

It’s past due, but I just finished Hellboy: The Midnight Circus from Dark Horse Comics. Here’s a short and pretty spoiler-free review.

I was tempted to label this romp into Hellboy’s childhood as a firm departure from his career in paranormal investigation.  Wrong.  So, so wrong.  The Midnight Circus is no less paranormal (and no less ghost/demon-filled) than any other Hellboy story.  One thing it most definitely is?  A welcome look into the odd and sometimes macabre childhood that shaped everyone’s favorite (obviously) anti-hero.

The Midnight Circus takes place in 1948 during Hellboy’s youth, when he was as prone to mischief and rule-breaking as in his adult life–which is to say, a lot.  Feeling dismissed and out of place by the adults (his age, not his inhuman-ness, seems to be the issue), the restless youngster runs away from the base and finds a circus flyer nailed to a tree. Hellboy is immediately intrigued by a show that goes “from the clock strikes twelve to the fearful crack of dawn”.  Who wouldn’t be?  He quickly finds though, that this is no ordinary circus, as its demon-in-disguise denizens spring a trap designed to prematurely fulfill his dark destiny.  Supernatural and psychological stuff ensues, naturally.  Here’s a sample for ya.

Enough potential spoilage.  This was a really great, quick read.  I couldn’t help but hesitate when it came to checking out this prequel-y aside from Hellboy’s childhood; what if it didn’t do my favorite comic character of all time justice?  Well…it did, because Mike Mignola doesn’t mess around with his flagship, do-gooding badass, no matter his age.  I loved Midnight Circus.  It’s out in trade paperback, so pick it up and join young Hellboy on an adventure.  Oh, and if you ever thought there were parallels and/or metaphors to be made between Hellboy’s identity and Pinocchio, then you’re either a genius or clairvoyant.  Or maybe I’m just a little dense.

Images from Dark Horse Comics.

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