Published on December 14th, 2017 | by Dana Folkard
HELLBOY: KRAMPUSNACHT REVIEW
Summary: Hellboy comes face-to-face with the Krampus.
A haunting tale!
Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes team-up to spin a chilling Satanic Christmas tale about Hellboy’s encounter with a goaty-demon, just in time for the holiday season!
We begin this tale in Austria, 1975 where we see Hellboy wandering through a snow-covered wood in the dead of night. He is following the ghost of a woman, who leads him through the woods to a house. Upon entering the house, Hellboy is greeted by a withered old man, named William Schulze, who has been patiently waiting for his arrival. They share a drink and then get down to business, whereupon he informs Hellboy that he is in fact the Krampus, an ancient sabbatic goat-demon, who punishes naughty children at Christmas. Hellboy is then treated with a rather disturbing vision of the brutal death of a young boy at the hand of the Krampus, after which, the man transforms into the beast himself. The Krampus laments over his cursed life, and questions why he has been sent to live in this cold world, away from the hellfire of his home. Wishing to die, he pleads with Hellboy to end his life, as the Prince of Hell wants to return home. In true Hellboy fashion, he obliges, but not without an epic struggle.
Ahh yes, it’s so wonderful to have Hellboy back with one of his small but curious paranormal adventures. For me personally, I’ve always been intrigued with Krampus mythology, and as a child found the entire myth behind this beast to be incredibly frightening. So as soon as I heard that Mike Mignola was going to write a one-shot about this monster, I became very excited to see what kind of story he would write. Mignola spins a dark and somewhat sad tale about this cursed creature and the unfortunate children who were killed by it. I rather enjoyed the unusual and unexpected twist that Mignola takes with this story, being more of a slower-paced read, with a more delicate edge. Of course, Hellboy is searching for this beast to slay it, however, I wasn’t expecting for the demon to be welcoming death. I found myself feeling conflicted over the Krampus, as it’s existence is a complicated one. I pitied the thing and also hated it, as I am quickly reminded of the foul and deplorable deeds that it committed throughout its life. Thousands of young children were brutally murdered by this creature, and in all reasoning it should die, hence Hellboy’s lack of hesitation. I also liked how Mignola ends this story, with Hellboy and Trevor and various member of the BPRD enjoying a drink at Christmas, talking about the Krampus and how this goaty-demon became entangled in Christmas mythology. It’s a nice way to end this tale, rounding it up in a nice and neat little package…kinda like a present.
Legendary artist, Adam Hughes teams-up with Mignola to visually brings this dark tale to life through his wonderfully detailed drawings. Hughes captures the eerie tone of this story perfectly through his gritty and engaging illustrations, that depict a haunting world draped in snow. Hughes pens a complex visual narrative, with every small detail and interesting angle drawing us into this story. I particularly loved how the Krampus was drawn, and seeing this beast hulking over Hellboy when it first transforms, is both chilling and terrifying. There is also an unusual detail with the Krampus, as we see his face transform various times throughout their fight. Each face is equally fantastic, with them all harking back to the Krampus’ original goat form. The fight scene is small, but detailed in a way that captures the intense violence of the fight effectively. I loved how these two moved on the page, portraying a sense of action and fluidity that I always love to see when Hellboy is engaged in a fight. The colouring mirrors the tonal shifts in the story, highlighting the haunting ambiance of the setting. I found the minimal use of bright colours throughout to be an effective and visually eye-catching tool to help highlight certain details on the page.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this dark Christmas tale. Venturing forth once again with Hellboy is an absolute treat. Mignola weaves the kind of Krampus story that will make all lovers of Hellboy smile. What a delightful Christmas treat!
I’m giving this one-shot 5 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: December 20, 2017
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard