Koschei.pngKoshchei the Deathless #1

Dark Horse Comics

Koshchei the Deathless was a very angry man. Discover the origins behind one of Hellboy’s notorious enemies in this fanatical tale of doom and slaughter from Mignola and Stenbeck. A character adapted from traditional Slavic folklore Koschei pursues immortality at all costs and in the process loses his soul and morality. This adventure sees Mignola and Stenbeck portray a prologue to an epic Hellboy battle and outlay the humanity behind some of the most fearless demons of the underworld.

Mignola has a knack for modernising ancient folklore that also encourages his readers to investigate the origins of his stories. Koschei, like many heroes, is spurned by his comrades due to his natural fighting abilities. Mignola manages to allow his reader to feel bitter empathy for his previous antagonists, Koschei’s plight is one marred by success and envy. A tale as old as time is the human instinct to avoid death and seek immortality,

Ben Stenbeck’s art fits right into the Hellboy universe and compliments Mignola’s original artwork beautifully. His architecture simple and weird, a particular favourite being Baba Yanook’s cabin with its crows foot.He manages to transform his humans into dragons seamlessly and naturally has a fearless grasp of gore.

I am glad to see much less of Hellboy on this occasion and following Koschei’s dramatic transformation, and more of his personality is a delight. When reading our favourite characters we can often consider their enemies as 2D cardboard cutouts set out to obstruct our heroes paths to glory, but these stories investigate the depths beneath the evil. A fascinating read, and now I want to purchase some Slavic folklore, recommendations more than welcome!

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