Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades

Writer / Artist
Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades
Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: First Second - 978-1626-72751-9
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2019
  • UPC: 9781626727519
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

You know the far corners of the Earth? Well they literally exist, and according to Nico he and assorted mythical creatures live in one of them. Not that a lot of those creatures believe Nico, mind, but as Vulcan says, “in this line of work you learn to keep an open mind”. That’s worth keeping in mind as you let the wonders of Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades wash over you. As is Buck’s statement that “just because you can’t see or smell something doesn’t mean it’s not there”. Mike Cavallaro cheerfully throws out an assortment of such head-scratchers amid some great nonsense conversations and compulsively detailed art that make this a dense read, in which there’s always room for a diversion starring supporting characters Buck and Lula. The result is great value.

Nico works in the shopfront of Vulcan’s Forge. Vulcan makes the weapons and Nico sells them, and the story proper kicks off around a quarter of the way through the book. As seen on the sample spread, novice monster slayer Eowulf is comprehensively kitted out, and she intends to continue the family business by slaying Cerberus, the multi-headed guardian of Hades. This isn’t good news. Cerberus ensures the dead stay where there are, and if slayed they’d be free to leave, resulting in the scariest disaster movie ever.

That’s as may be, but as this an all-ages adventure, the scary level is set relatively low by Cavallaro’s cheerful cartooning. An example is when Cerberus is finally seen, not as the dog with three slavering rottweiler heads as usually portrayed, but with three different heads, one of them a permed pink poodle. Plenty of other surprises await concerning the greats of mythology, and while Nico’s worst fears occur, on the positive side he does get to share an adventure with the hero of his favourite comic.

Cavallaro builds the story until there’s danger in three different locations, and then keeps switching between them, along the way introducing some ideas about the fourth dimensional nature of time that might take some mulling over for younger readers. It’s all fantastic fun, with some imaginative surprises and if you’ll excuse the spoiler, Nico seems to be around for Nico Bravo and the Cellar Dweller. You won’t be able to wait.