Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury

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Hellboy:
The Storm and the Fury
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Publication information
Publisher Dark Horse Comics
Format Limited series
Genre
Creative team
Created by Mike Mignola
Written by Mike Mignola
Artist(s) Duncan Fegredo
Letterer(s) Clem Robins
Colorist(s) Dave Stewart
Editor(s) Scott Allie
Collected editions
Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury ISBN 978-1-59582-827-9

Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury is the twelfth collected edition of Mike Mignola's comic book series Hellboy, collecting "Hellboy: The Storm #1-3" and "Hellboy: The Fury #1-3", with the partition into two limited series (series whose actions are set minutes apart from each other) intended to accommodate an anticipated production gap of several months[1] that eventually saw the story's first three issues published from July–September 2010 and its last three, following the publication of several other Hellboy projects, from May–August 2011. This is the third and concluding story arc of a trilogy beginning with Darkness Calls and continuing with The Wild Hunt, all of them written by Mignola and illustrated by Duncan Fegredo. The six issues were numbered on their inside front covers as issues 47-49 and 55-57 of the continuing Hellboy series. Two prelude pages from The Fury #3 are absent in this trade paperback. As with Hellboy stories generally and these issues in particular, the collected edition will be published by Dark Horse Comics.

Summary[edit]

Hellboy, with his new love Alice Monaghan, visits the church of a friend, an English parish priest named Bill, who confirms that Hellboy's promised army of "the noble dead of Britain" are indeed leaving their graves. They watch Bill showing three empty stone caskets to a puzzled police officer; Hellboy hears the occupant of a fourth, undisturbed, tomb (reputed that of a traitor) begging Hellboy's pardon as England's king. Bill had seen the other three knights leaving. Hellboy thanks Bill but decides not to tell him of the coming war ("Bad enough you and I have to know that"). Hellboy has quit drinking and rejects Bill's invitation to join him at the pub, complaining to Alice of the role alcohol has played in his trials since departing from the BPRD. Hellboy and Alice leave the town in a "crappy rental car" with the sword Excalibur in its back seat wrapped in a towel. As they drive they comment on the ill omen of a tall bell-ringing homeless man standing by the road with a "The End is Nigh" placard, and they discuss the problem of where Hellboy is to meet the army of reanimated British knights that according to Morgan le Fay he must lead against the apocalyptic army of Nimue. They are surprised by a giant beast warrior elaborately helmeted and armored in some copper-colored metal, wielding a large spear and running at them down the road. The warrior punches their car off the road and down a wooded slope. After frantically checking that she is unhurt, Hellboy leaves Alice in the upended car to fight the warrior who while fighting announces himself the champion of Nimue, who has just murdered Queen Mab and (we see in flashback) the unnamed elfin retainer of the Dagda who had advised Hellboy during the Hellboy: Box Full of Evil storyline. While they fight, the Gruagach is fleeing the growing storm elsewhere in the countryside and trips over the grave of Merlin, whose image he begs for mercy, eliciting the reply, "No mercy for you, pig."

Merlin recounts his seduction and entombment by Nimue, and denounces the Gruagach for helping her to end the world. He reveals that Nimue killed Mab in order to create the champion who is now fighting Hellboy and is revealed to be her hedgehog servant from The Wild Hunt transformed by a daubing in Mab's golden blood. Merlin shows the Gruagach a post-apocalyptic future vision of the Ogdru Hem treading ruined cities, and curses him with eternal life "until the world ceases to turn" that he may see the world he has created come to pass. Back in the darkened church the undisturbed fourth tomb still begs forgiveness as a crowned knight, resembling King Arthur as portrayed in The Wild Hunt, appears to Bill who falls to his knees in prayer. Alice throws Excalibur to Hellboy who, distracted, is impaled on the spear of Nimue's champion but merely walks up the spear to deliver a sweeping death blow with the sword. Dying, the champion warns Hellboy of a secret (which he has learned from Mab through her blood) that Nimue is becoming "a thing not seen since the beginning of the world." Once he reverts, dead, to his hedgehog form, Hellboy follows the sword which has flown some yards away in its final swing, and is led to discover an unusually picturesque and isolated pub which he looks at with obvious resignation and which (as the rain begins, driving him and Alice inside) he does not expect to contain a phone. It doesn't, and the woman tending bar doesn't seem fazed by Hellboy's unearthly appearance but only claims to find him familiar. Hellboy nurses his tea watching a TV news report with BPRD's Kate Corrigan giving a statement on the towering California Urgo Hem from BPRD: King of Fear (and subsequent issues), as he sorrowfully relives a conversation from his childhood on the New Mexico military base in 1947, when his adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm assured him that he was not, as he feared even in youth, a monster. The barkeep turns off her TV as Alice calls Hellboy to the window, to witness, dismayed, his undead army of knights who have arrived and silently ring the pub awaiting him.

Sitting with Alice by the window, Hellboy says "Can't do it." He cannot lead an army of corpses, he does not trust Morgan Le Fay, and although he trusts Queen Mab's intentions he has to follow his gut which is warning against how things are going. He also refuses to take Excalibur (which he insists is now part of what feels wrong to him), asking Alice to "throw it in a nice-looking pond or a river, something like that." He tells her that he plans to rejoin the BPRD in America once he's defeated Nimue, and asks her to come with him, and then leaves, threading a path through the dead knights and away. The pub's sign is that of the Holy Grail. Stalking through the woods Hellboy shortly finds the Gruagach who has hanged himself from a tree but cannot die. The Gruagach begs Hellboy to forgive him and to kill him, and Hellboy attempts to oblige by emptying his gun (to no effect) into the elf before moving on. Hellboy immediately comes upon the bell-ringing homeless man, who he seems to recognize and greets with a disgusted "Oh, it's you." Unperturbed, the man shows Hellboy a vision of the vast army surrounding and defending Nimue's tower and urges Hellboy to defeat it at the head of an army led out of Hell - at which Hellboy breaks the man's walking stick over his head so that he reveals himself as Astaroth, Hellboy's tempter from the Box Full of Evil and Wild Hunt storylines, who departs (the two broken pieces of his staff-like snake companion having rejoined). As Hellboy relights his cigar, the Baba Yaga appears leaning on the giant wooden pestle of her flying mortar, and offers to fly Hellboy over the vast army so he may confront Nimue alone in her tower, begging him humbly in return for what she had previously always demanded: one of his eyes. Hellboy plucks it out and she brandishes it, rejoicing. Elsewhere, Morgan le Fay reviews her chessboard, the red piece of which is now bleeding, and in the top chamber of Nimue's tower, Nimue prays to the Ogdru Jahad until Ganeida, her mangled witch courtier from Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, interrupts her to announce (speaking under a prophetic tongue of flame) that the Ogdru Jahad are about to incarnate using Nimue's body as a vessel. As a horrified Nimue tosses Ganeida's body around the room with a suddenly mutating and gigantic arm, and as her army outside chants for war, we see the stones of the Ogdru Jahad's prison superimposed in the sky around the tower.

The three witches from Darkness Calls, having fled the unfolding scene in Nimue's chamber, stand outside her tower and debate their responsibility for the cataclysm that is underway. They witness Hellboy approaching their position at base of the tower and mistake him for Odin and then for Thor because of his hammer-like stone hand and his missing eye. They direct him up to the top chamber from whose window (onto the spears of her soldiers) Nimue tosses Ganeida in an enraged denial of her own ongoing transformation. As Hellboy enters the base of the tower, Alice grieves back in the pub in England, where the barkeep reminds Alice of what King Arthur told her in Morgan's castle - that Alice's life is bound to the sword Excalibur and that she would be the first to see the new king with his crown. As Hellboy confronts a stairway swarming with goblin soldiers, the barkeep tells Alice that the pub belongs to George Washbook (grand-nephew of two traitorous Victorian witches repeatedly referenced in Mignola's Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder comics series) who, seeking redemption, had sacrificed himself in a World War I trench only to have his life saved by a robed and ghostly woman with a gold chalice. Upon his return to England he had spent a year wandering its length before purchasing the pub where he had grown impossibly old with the sense that he was "waiting for something ... that was coming to him." As Hellboy battles his last few soldier opponents, George Washbrook, skeletally aged and decrepit, is guided down the stairs of the pub by a ghostly robed woman. As Hellboy rejects a fallen sword and picks up an axe instead, Alice falls to her knees offering Excalibur to Washbrook. Hellboy bursts into Nimue's chamber flinging the axe at her face where it knocks Nimue's three-raven helmet from her head. Meanwhile, Washbrook takes Excalibur and as the robed woman crowns him with Arthur's crown he is revealed as a stern and regally armored young man glowing with beauty and power. When Nimue's helmet hits the floor of her chamber it flies up again as three living ravens and the mutating creature before Hellboy announces that it is no longer Nimue. With Alice beside him, Washbrook, as the new king accepts the grail from a circle of radiantly robed women. As two of Nimue's ravens fly from the tower window, the being that was Nimue explains that it is the Ogdru Jahad, returned thanks to Grigori Rasputin's feat, back in the first Hellboy story, of cracking the walls of its prison, since which the world (like Hellboy's life) has had no light and no hope. At the door of the grail pub, Washbrook pours out a stream of light from his chalice, restoring the undead army to young and vigorous life. As the lightning storm builds outside Nimue's tower, the Ogdru Jahad, one-handedly gripping Hellboy's skull to its now scaled and elongated face, tells Hellboy he is too late, and has him listen, as outside the window, the two escaped ravens deliver the Dragon's order for the army to march and exterminate mankind.

At the door of the pub in England, Alice hears the chant of Nimue's approaching army and the barkeep tells her the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride or stalk at its head, and that those humans who survive the war and the pestilence and famine to follow will then die feeding the Ogdru Hem and their creatures. On the field outside Nimue's tower War and the army he leads clash with Washbrook and his own, as Washbrook swears they'll never set foot in England. As Alice rushes out to find Hellboy over the barkeep's pursuing protests, the Dragon (who now looks very much like a dragon) offers Hellboy a quick death but is cheered when Hellboy attacks him: "Given the way you have lived, I feared you would choose an easy death." The dragon blasts Hellboy out the tower's window with a gust of flame but Hellboy grabs the window-frame and attacks again. The Dragon reminds Hellboy that It had been there from the world's beginning and enigmatically announces "I am time, the destroyer: We are bound together in that." As Hellboy begins to repeatedly batter the dragon, innumerable lightning bolts descend on England demolishing landmarks, landscapes and cities. Alice and the barkeep come upon the last of Nimue's witches at the edge of a lake, apologizing before she, too, drowns herself. King Vold with his Wild Hunt rides through the woods crying "Doom!" and Alice flees into the battlefield, now a sea of blood littered with small islands of corpses and fire. Wandering the field she sees three crowned women reclaiming Excalibur and comforting the dying Washbrook, victorious and once again an old man. Ganeida addresses Alice from the same spear (presumably borne in the battle) on which she had been impaled when flung from Nimue's tower window, saying that Washbrook and his soldiers were fated to die in glory winning this battle, leaving lesser men behind to face "Ragna Rok," the apocalypse. She asks why Queen Mab hasn't yet told Alice that the battlefield is that of Vigrid, where Ragna Rok is prophesied to occur, with a battle between a dragon and the champion of man signaling "the end."

As Hellboy battles the dragon in the ruins atop the tower, the lightning storm demolishes and depopulates England. It continues as Hellboy is thrown down and pinned beneath the Dragon's monstrous claw. As the Dragon exults silently in its power, Alice confronts the barkeep, who she now realizes (from Ganeida's question) is dead Queen Mab. Queen Mab confirms that she is dead, confirms that the Dragon is that same one whose battle signals the world's end, and confirms that, if unchecked, the storm now ravaging Britain will spread over the whole world, leaving it ruled by monsters until (as seen in BPRD: King of Fear), "it all burns." Then, she insists gratefully, a new world will rise. Hellboy cannot win trying to save the world: "This world's run its course, but it's not that it goes -- it's how it goes." The Dragon having escaped its prison early, "Hellboy fights to buy this world a little more time... time enough for his friends [pictured as BPRD's Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Roger the Homunculus] to do what they must ... so when the new world comes, at least the spirit of man will survive." As a protesting Alice reaches the foot of the tower, she passes Sir Edward Grey, who tells her to hurry. At the tower top, still pinned by the exulting dragon's claw, Hellboy sees Vasilisa, the girl from Russian folklore who had helped him in Darkness Calls and advised him in The Wild Hunt. She is holding the last of the live ravens from Nimue's helmet. She asks Hellboy how he feels and he confirms that as she had told him, dying doesn't hurt. Crying, she asks him if he's ready and he says "I guess so." She turns the raven back into iron, and turns the iron raven into an iron sword with a bird's head ornament similar to that adorning Ohlomi's staff from Hellboy: The Third Wish. Hellboy takes the sword and as his blood runs down it, it turns to gold. Then he slices half through the Dragon's leg. Alice cowers on the stairs outside the room as the Dragon convulses and Hellboy clings to it using his stone right hand while he releases streams of muddy golden blood from the Dragon's belly with the other. When Hellboy climbs a bit higher and stabs the Dragon's chest, he releases a gout of flame, and sends the Dragon's body collapsing lifelessly onto the tower. As Alice rushes into the room and Hellboy quips about the day he's had, a cloud rapidly emerges from the dragon's chest and takes the form of a robed Nimue who reports that the ghosts of England's drowned witches are dragging her into Hell but that she will take Hellboy with her. She reaches into Hellboy's chest and removes his flaming heart from a now-flaming cavity. Hellboy's body says "Son of a" before toppling backwards and scattering as ash or dust. We see Nimue pulled by a tower of witches into Hell, tossing the still-flaming heart so it tumbles into darkness. Hellboy's gun-belt sits in a pile of dust (his stone hand is not in frame) and the red piece on Morgan's disordered chess board (over which Death stands watching) is rubble. Alice opens her eyes from weeping and finds herself back in the pub which has clearly not been inhabited for years - Washbrook's World War I photo has been replaced with that of the pub's real former owners (one of whom resembles Queen Mab as the barkeep). Mab's crown sits on the counter. Alice collapses on the stairs and weeps. In the woods outside, a smiling Morgan le Fey encounters the Gruagach and (over a howled protest from Merlin's tomb) breaks the curse on him, taking him merrily with her into the next life, because neither of them wants to live to see the world that's coming. As England's survivors wander out into the smoke and rubble, lilies (resembling those grown from Hellboy's blood after his battle with Saint Leonard's worm) grow in the shadow of a ruined London column.

The inside back cover of the final issue is an advertisement for the series' continuation: it shows what seems to be the statue of a half-robed skeleton gripping Hellboy's red and still-flaming heart in one hand, with the caption: "Coming in 2012: - Hellboy in Hell - by Mike Mignola." This story will mark Mike Mignola's long-promised return [2] to the series as the regular artist.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthew Meylikhov (8 April 2010). "Hellboy Trilogy Ends With The Storm and The Fury". Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Hugh Armitage (27 June 2010). "Mignola Returns to Drawing "Hellboy"".