I think we’re going to have Mignola Mondays for a while…I couldn’t help but start rereading the Hellboy Universe the other day, so expect a new review for each of the numerous books.

Seed of Destruction┬áis the first book in the Hellboy epic. It’s the tone setter for nearly thirty collections of comics, but it’s probably the most different one of them all.

This is the story that introduces us to Hellboy, the B.P.R.D. and several other staples of Mignola’s comic universe. It’s also where he establishes the status quo of weird things happening somewhere in the world, and Hellboy getting sent in to try and figure it out only to end up in a fist fight with some strange creature. It opens with Hellboy’s origin which includes some nuance left out of the film version and from there it moves on to a significant character death that only becomes significant later. And this is only issue 1.

The main plot of the book takes Hellboy, looking for answers, to a strange mansion where he encounters elements from his past he never expected to find. The story is one reason this is a must read. The other is that you absolutely have to read this volume before reading anything else in the world of Hellboy. The seeds sewn are still sprouting over 25 years later and you’ll end up rereading this book looking for nods toward the future.

This first Hellboy story is written, not by Mike Mignola, but by John Byrne. Yes, comic legend John Byrne. Uncertain of his writing skills in his first foray into creator owned work, Mignola called on a friend to help with the script. This probably creates the largest stylistic difference between this and later books. While the script is sparse, it is wordy in comparison to the others. Byrne did as he asked and delivered an excellent voice for Hellboy and the book, but it won’t be until later, when Mignola takes on full writing chores, that we meet the Hellboy we all know and love.

Still, this book remains a must read. Mignola is very much Mignola, but you can still see him working in the mentality of Marvel/DC artist. There is less shadow, Hellboy has much more of a super hero physique, and there’s a definite super hero vibe to the pacing. Strange to compare to his work from years later.

I’ve been rambling, so in closing you should read this comic for 3 reasons: 1. It’s the first in an epic series of an action horror masterpiece. 2. It’s an action horror masterpiece. 3. Mignola is awesome. You should check out what he was like when he made the bold decision to go his own way, because we’re all very lucky he did.

Seriously. Hellboy’s so good.