Art by: Duncan Fegredo
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Clem Robins
The young Hellboy overhears a conversation that makes him feel like a burden on the B.P.R.D. and so he decides to run away.
Whilst out of the bureau’s borders, Hellboy stumbles across a strange circus, filled with demons and various ghouls. However, the demons that he meets are not his friends, as they try to unlock Hellboy’s true power which will bring about the end of the world.
Meanwhile, the Professor discovers the young boy has gone missing, so he quickly gathers the agents of the B.P.R.D to form a search party. This leads him on a trip down memory lane, regarding the story of two child murderers that apparently still haunt the place they were killed.
A much longer story than ‘Pancakes’, a one-shot that can be bought as an individual book, The Midnight Circus is an interesting read that gives newcomers an idea of how important Hellboy is to the demons of Hell, but also proves that if they can’t have him, they’ll make no hesitation in trying to kill him. This gives you a sense of the troubles Hellboy has had to deal with his entire life.
It’s an interesting story that shows the conflict of Hell’s demons, as not all of them think Hellboy should live, as well as proving how much The Professor cares for Hellboy, and how hard Hellboy fights his destiny to be something more than a demon. It humanizes the young demon and makes him feel like any other child.
The art in this story differs from the other stories within Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1, as it uses various art styles for different scenes and areas of the story. The B.P.R.D has the familiar Mignola style art that we see a lot in Hellboy books, but then when we reach the circus, the art feels darker and more detailed, with a deeper focus on the little details of a character, be it hair (or fur), facial features, and clothing detail. It shifts the tone of the story and makes the Circus feel as real as it is to Hellboy. When compared to the other panels in the book, the circus moments feel almost cinematic.
The Midnight Circus is a dark story that adds to the lore of Hellboy’s life and experiences as a child. Whilst he is scared now, as any child would be, these experiences will turn him into the badass hero he is when he’s older. It proves that even as a kid, Hellboy had the strength to deny a demon’s influence to try and get him to unlock his power which would mark the end of the world as we know it and allow, quite literally, all hell to break loose.
RETURN TO HELLBOY: THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES VOLUME 1 – REVIEW