Writers: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Artist: Matt Smith
Colorist: Chris O’ Halloran
Letterer: Clem Robins
Cover Art: Matt Smith
Publisher: Dark Horse
Price: $ 3.99
Release Date: July 12, 2023
Reviewed by: Samriddh Chaudhary
Hellboy and Anastasia end up in West Bengal, India as they delve deeper into the investigation of the mysterious organization called the Suaren Artea. But the mystery thickens as tiny demons made from the blood of a giant demon summoned by a mysterious woman attack them as they investigate. Hellboy in Love #5 is a horrific journey through an Indian temple with the theme of Love prevailing throughout.
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Hellboy in Love #5 focuses more on the horror side of Hellboy rather than the adventure and it works in the issue’s favour as the horror sensibilities of the issue help the reader to be more engaged in the events that take place. The issue also provides the final piece to the greatest and the most important puzzle of the series which is the character of Anastasia Bransfield herself. We get a short discussion about her past and how she came to pursue a career in archaeology and if you focus on it enough, it makes her attraction toward Hellboy more evident in an absurd manner. The characterization of Hellboy takes a backseat so we can continue to learn more about the woman he has fallen in love with. The plot throughout the issue is simple and the execution of the plot is decent.
The fact that it ends on a cliffhanger is rather bothersome but this entire series has been quite abrupt from the start as it begins by getting us right into the action. But due to this, the relationship seems less developed even though by the end of the issue they may have started considering each other full-fledged romantic partners. Considering the fact that the series is called “Hellboy in Love” an underdeveloped romance does hamper its name.
The Art by Matt Smith is beautiful. He replicates Mignola’s original style while putting in his tweaks and touches. The art overall creates a distinct atmosphere throughout the issue and the horror focus of the issue benefits heavily from the atmosphere created by the art. The colors of the comic are of course a huge part of the atmosphere equation of the book but I believe a more extreme approach with the colors like that of Mark Chiarello would have made the horror aspects much more effective.
Hellboy in Love #5 is a mostly above-average issue with a few problems that bring it down. Even after five complete issues, the romance seems underdeveloped and the story doesn’t come to a satisfying conclusion. But, the atmosphere of the comic does help in pulling itself from being just an average comic issue. The writers and the artists understand that the simplicity of the plot allows them to weave an atmosphere that would improve the quality of the comic significantly. Let me know how you feel about this comic and have a great week ahead. Thank you for reading.