Review by Woodrow Phoenix
The second Hellboy Omnibus is 48 pages longer than volume one, and continues the chronological presentation of all Mignola’s Hellboy stories by year of occurrence in Hellboy’s timeline, mixing short stories with full-length ones. This volume contains ‘The Right Hand of Doom’, ’Box Full of Evil’, ’Being Human’, ‘Conqueror Worm’, ’The Third Wish’, ’The Island’ and ‘Into the Silent Sea’ running from 1998 to 2005. This group of stories are all about Hellboy’s transition from a Nazi-punching supernatural pulp hero to more of a wanderer and reluctant player in a fantasy and horror setting.
The Right Hand of Doom’ introduces some key information about Hellboy’s intended purpose on Earth. This will drive the series as a major subplot from this point until it becomes the overarching story in the next volume; from the ‘Conqueror Worm’, which closes out the superheroish aspects of the series, to the ‘Third Wish’ and ‘The Island’, which define elements of the hidden world Hellboy belongs to (and features one of the most quoted panels in the entire twenty plus years history of this character). This volume also features art by two artists other than Mignola. Richard Corben draws the creepy and somewhat gruesome ‘Being Human’, and Gary Gianni draws ‘Into the Silent Sea’.
These stories are followed by twelve sketchbook pages featuring character designs and pencil sketches, along with Mignola’s notes about some of the ideas and the evolution of his thinking while creating these tales. At less than $20 for 414 pages of comics, the Hellboy Omnibus Volume 2: Strange Places is incredibly good value for money and the ideal way for new readers to get to grips with the Hellboy universe.