A collection of early hellboy tales that follow on to each other in a rather short chronology before Mignola decided to break apart the BPRD that forms the central pillar of the Hellboy paranormal universe. A few distinctive changes are noticable: the art, the manner of speech, and the loose ends. The characters script seems to be touched up as time goes on compared to the previous style of talking, although it is not made clear as to how much influence outside help was brought in, if at all, other than simple inspiration. An example of this is the absence of rather silly one liners such as “thats crap!” when someone gets shot, compared to the celestial magnitude of the bad guy monologues that appear in each episode. The artwork still retains the distinctive blockiness of all figures and absences of acute detail that give the imagery a distictive silence to flavor the caravaggian style, with all objects and colors appearing to merge and shroud with the cut off of shadows without any toned shading. For some reason M Mignola has the habit of dispatching bad guys all too readily rather than having them narrowly escaping the brewing new plots over and over again, and the stand alone stories with Hellboy are no different in formula, which unfortunately is one particular detail that completely ruins what was an almost perfect storyboard meerly by unnecessary rushing towards conclusions and abandoning the potential for ongoing curses and achilles heels for a more rich and vibrant periodical.
The stories inlcuded in this volume are: Conqueror Worm, and Strange Places, which were also composed from smaller comic sized episodes.
It was a good read and an breath of fresh air form the kirby style of art work that most modern comics adopt.