Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Return of Effie Kolb #1 – Mike Mignola, Zach Howard & Dave Stewart (Dark Horse Comics)

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You remember Effie Kolb don’t you? Sure you do. She was in it up to her neck in that whole thing in the Appalachian Mountains along with poor Tom Ferrell, who fell under her spell, and the Crooked Man. It was a tragic tale of witches, dark magic, the obsessive nature and power of love and the thin line that, all too often, exists between attraction and possession. Remember her now?  Good, then feel free to read on, break out your credit card and place your order (like there’s any doubt that’s what you’re going to do) for The Return of Effie Kolb. If you don’t, hit the back issue bins (you’re looking for Hellboy and the Crooked Man) at your local comic book store or pick up Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume One and you’ll find Effie nestling somewhere in their pages. And when you’ve done that, then you can go online and order The Return of Effie Kolb.

Returning to the scene of the “crime” nearly a decade after the events the first saw Hellboy and Effie cross paths, Big Red finds that while a lot has changed, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Tom is older, a little wiser and is plagued and haunted (quite literally) by what happened with Effie, there’s a new young witch (at least that’s what she’s been told that’s what she is) on the scene and the old house has new tenants who seem awfully interested in said new witch and know more about Hellboy than he’s comfortable with. All of which means, of course, that things are about to get more than a little out of hand and that chaos, damnation and evil are about to rain down on Hellboy once again.

Joined by the sure, tried, tested and true artistic talents of Zach Howard (who you’ll almost certainly know from how work on Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men and a whole heap of other books), Mike Mignola uses the opening chapter of The Return of Effie Kolb to craft a slow burn, character driven story in which all of the players are delicately moved on to the board and into place. Ostensibly about the way in which the past has a habit of catching up with everyone, the enduring and unforgiving essence of lust and how history often has a way of repeating itself, The Return of Effie Kolb looks like it’s getting set to paint a canvas filled with all manner of wonderful destruction and woe. Where it goes from here only Mignola knows, but you can bet that Hellboy is going to be caught right in the middle of whatever it is that happens. And that’s good enough for me, so I’m all in. Bring it on Big Red… Tim Cundle

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