*Warning Possible Spoilers*
Seed of Destruction was Mike Mignola’s first foray into creator owned content. It was originally released in March 1994 and it has aged superbly, better than fine wine you might say. Mignola grants us a story involving destiny, mysteries and the ever present human thirst for knowledge. Hellboy himself is obviously not human but he grew human idiosyncrasies as he was raised by humans, one man in particular being Trevor Bruttenholm.
Fast-forward to 1994, Hellboy has grown up and Bruttenholm is an old man. The two men have a meeting as Bruttenholm has something important to tell him. We learn of an expedition, it goes horribly wrong and before we can learn the full details Bruttenhol is attacked by a large frog creature. This sets up the premise of the rest of the book as Hellboy is determined to uncover the mysteries of the expedition.
The artwork by Mignola is very distinct compared to many other comic books on the market. He feeds us his imagery with clear cut panels which are simple to follow. Thick heavy shadows are strewn throughout; quite often facial detail is hidden within this darkness. Many of the backgrounds are empty, some would consider this a bad thing but it helps keep focus on the characters, the motions and what’s being conveyed throughout the panels.
You will not find any bright or bold examples of the colour wheel here at all. Everything is grim, dark and there is very little “happiness” to be found in the confines of this book. Mignola’s colour work helps shape the visuals and once again makes it easy to focus on the important parts.
This is not the greatest comic book ever written or scripted, nor is the portrayals of Hellboy, Elizabeth or Abraham ground breaking in any way. What Mignola has done is create a book that is simple to follow and understand with a highly enjoyable lead character. He set up the foundation for what was to come. He gave a minuscule one page glimpse of world building, of what could potentially come in the future.
It’s a story everyone should read for Hellboy’s 20th year anniversary. It’s a lasting legacy that Mignola has earned and here’s to hoping it lasts another 20 years.