Hellboy Krampusnacht Review: Quiet, Innocuous, and Gorgeous

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It is late December in Austria. The year is 1975, and Hellboy finds himself haunted by the ghost of a woman pleading for him to help her boy.

He arrives at a house inhabited by a lone old man. The old man summoned our heroic demon and has a request of his own. This request may shock Hellboy, as everything may not be as it appears.

Hellboy: Krampusnacht cover by Adam Hughes
Hellboy: Krampusnacht cover by Adam Hughes

As you could guess from the title, this story brings Hellboy up against the Krampus of Eastern European mythology. And the showdown is… well, it's alright.

It's not as epic as one might hope. The Krampus has had enough time on this Earth and wants the demonic B.P.R.D agent to kill him, so he can return to Hell. It still involves a fight, because why wouldn't it?

All in all, though, the story doesn't feel that epic. It's not the Hellboy vs. Krampus fight one would want. There are no epic stakes. It feels pretty restrained. Its presentation makes it out to be just another day in the life of Hellboy (which, admittedly, East-German goat demons are pretty standard for him).

That being said, the story is tight, and there is a quiet nihilism to how in-and-out the story is. It also works for how macabre the world of Hellboy can be.

That brings us to the art by Adam Hughes, which is the main thing that will probably bring this thing to recommended status by the end of the review. In short, it looks damn good, and the Krampus genuinely creeped me the hell out when he first shows up. There is something about the way his mouth and tongue hang that really gets to me. Plus, Hellboy himself looks great under Hughes. His color work has a unique shading gradient to it, as well, and it allows for the world to feel cold, dark, and wrong. Krampusnacht is visually stunning all around.

All in all, if you're in need of more Hellboy with a slight holiday-themed twist, then this comic can satisfy. It's eerie, and the art is fantastic. The understated nature is probably truer to the world of the B.P.R.D as well as the writing style of Mike Mignola, even if it does leave the comic feeling pretty in-and-out. That being said, I can recommend it to the Hellboy devotee, as it will almost certainly give you a good time.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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