Review – Hellboy: The Silver Lantern Club #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Christopher Mitten
Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Letterer: Clem Robbins
Colourist: Michelle Madsen
Release Date: 27th October 2021

While assisting Harry Middleton with a series of troublesome ghosts and demons, Professor Bruthenholm and Hellboy take some time out to meet Bruthenholm’s uncle Simon who, over the course of several rounds of beer, regales them with tales of his youth as a member of the famous Silver Lantern Club, alongside famed occultists such as Sir Edward Grey and Miss Sarah Jewel.

With the second omnibus edition of Witchfinder due for release next month, it’s timely that we get a new Hellboy title involving the Silver Lantern Club and Sir Edward Grey. Taking the form of a series of fireside stories, seemingly tall tales to anyone that doesn’t walk the same benighted roads as Hellboy and his companions, Simon Bruthenholm settles in for a long evening with a a captive audience. Well… for as long as the beer lasts, anyway.

I like this approach. It’s a different pace, and reminds me of other occasions when we saw Professor Bruthenholm reading ancient myths and legends to Hellboy as a child, or Hellboy sharing stories and rum with ghost pirates after defeating the Bog Roosh. For me these are great moments, and given how constantly traumatic Hellboy’s life is it’s nice to see him getting a bit of down time, even if it’s to spend an evening hearing the war stories of an old ghost hunter.

I get the feeling that Uncle Simon has always played second fiddle to someone else. In his first story he’s almost the comedy sidekick to Grey and Jewel despite being the “hero of the day,” and  these reminiscences feel like a way of reliving the glory days and validating his contribution.

Simon’s first tale is a good one, tinged with a great sense of humour as a foil to the almost Captain Ahab-esque doggedness of Grey in his pursuit of the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. It was actually a really nice change to see a completely practical solution in the face of the failing attempts of occult giants.

There’s not much I can say about the artwork. It is, as always, perfectly suited to the story it’s telling, but then this is a Mignolaverse story and the style and design parameters are laid out more binding than the lightning-carved tablets handed to Moses…

As a further spin-off series in the Mignolaverse, the Silver Lantern Club has the opportunity to showcase a whole new word of adventure. And while it does lean on existing characters, it also has the possibility of giving us a whole new cast of protagonists and antagonists to fight the good fight. I’ll always be pleased to see new entries in Hellboy’s universe, and I think this series has the potential to give us an intriguing series of adventures.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the collected edition of this in a suitably aged cracked leather tome, titled something along the lines of “Fireside tales with Uncle Simon”.

Rating: 3.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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