Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club – Mike Mignola, Adam Hughes, Dave Stewart & Clem Robins (Dark Horse Comics)

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Some clubs are so exclusive, their membership waiting list can last a lifetime and have an index of regulations and rules that would test the patience of Job, while others, like The Seven Wives Club, require only one thing from their members.  They have to be dead to join.  Mortality and the barriers that separate it from the other realms of existence are Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.’s bread and butter and dealing with, and dispatching, the denizens of the latter when they make their presence felt in the former are what they do best.

So, when Hellboy and his partner of the hour Pauline Raskin are asked to help investigate n apparently straightforward murder that is anything but a simple homicide, they find themselves immersed in case of a murderous, long deceased lothario, beguiling spectres and a curse instigated by a curious cabal of would be Doctors’ that continues to infect, corrupt and dispose of any who come into contact with it.

As with any Mignola story, the characterisation, interaction and dialogue are superb, and the plot is tight, fluid and finely balances horror, humour and the fallibility, weakness and surprising courage and strength of the human spirit. Hughes art is a perfect foil for Mignola’s tale and in gorgeous detail manages to capture the action and pathos of a story that explores the thin line that often separates curiosity and jeopardy.  The Seven Wives Club is a gloriously dark one shot that’ll chill your bones and thrill your stygian heart in equal measure, and  serves to remind his devoted fan base that there’s only one hero who , when all hope is lost, really matters. And that’s Hellboy…  Tim Cundle

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