Resurrection in the Mignolaverse: A Response
Hey guys! If you haven’t read it, Brian Levy wrote a great Opinion piece about Resurrection in the Mignolaverse earlier this week, it’s a great article! After that, Kevin pitched the idea to me that when we do opinion write-ups we should get a few people to write on the same topic so that we get multiple sides to a piece. In the future , we want to hear from even more people, so if you want to become a contributor to the site you can contact us HERE. Even if you only want to contribute for one article, we want to hear you.
Luckily, this happens to be a topic that I think about a lot in regards to Hellboy.
The following article contains spoilers for multiple Mignolaverse books:
In a world where the only way to kill Superman or Iron Man for good is to literally shut down their respective studio, resurrection in comic books is not only commonplace today but it is almost expected. Just look at DC’s Heroes in Crisis, which, after its release yesterday, caused outrage on the internet (for some reason). Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it like Reddit spoiled me.
In the past few years we have had a few different Hellboy Universe resurrections, kinda. Off the cuff I can think of two and a half resurrections that have happened recently, all of which took place in B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know. First Hellboy, then Roger (kinda- he counts as a half point), and most recently Rasputin. I have seen a lot of murky opinions about all of these with fans, a lot of people just want them to stay dead. I am sure there are a few other smaller examples I am forgetting, but these have caused the most grief.
I feel that when people think about these resurrections, they zone in on just those few pages in the moment and completely forget to look at the franchise as a whole. This franchise is so utterly obsessed with killing off its own characters that many of their first appearances are literally their deaths! Lobster Johnson- Conqueror Worm: dies (editors note: kinda?). Professor Bruttenholm: off in the opening few pages of the first ever Hellboy comic. The Visitor: Splat. Edward Grey is interesting: Grey absolutely wants to die and go to Heaven- which he is guaranteed- so killing him in any way would not be tragic. So the only way to “kill” him is to give him immortal life, bind him to hell, and cut him up like a disheveled Mr. Potato Head and throw him in a river of acid. Mignola’s a bit sadistic, no?
Then we have all the other deaths that range from brutal to sad as hell (pun intended), to nearly pointless. Just in B.P.R.D. we have Roger, Kate, Panya, Johan (?), Iosif, Ashley... STRODE- I will not forgive Scott and Mike for that one. I’m just rattling off the first things that come to mind; there’s plenty more.
Then let's take a look at Hellboy’s resurrection. It’s probably the most depressing example of all time. Hellboy, for the first time in the franchise’s history, is speechless; Heartbroken. This character that is half-defined by his witty commentary can only reflect on the fact that he was once at peace, dead, but was ripped from his grave solely to do the one thing he thought he had overcome: bringing about the end the world and everything that he loves. Nothing about this is like the typical, “WOLVERINE IS BACK GUYS!” type of resurrection. Everything about its is horrible, to the point that I don’t even consider it a resurrection anymore. Seeing Hellboy speechless in that first issue of his return is not a symbol of life, it’s a symbol that every character in that book is about to die. Rasputin coming back to life is just even more symbol that everyone is f**ked.
I personally think the creators of this franchise earned every page of those resurrections. It’s not a happy ending. In fact, it’s the exact antithesis of the Death of Superman saga. There is never going to be a truly happy ending, and if there is any hope, it is slim. Since Hellboy’s return marks the death of humanity, and since Rasputin has been subtly lurking in the background of every Mignolaverse book till now, through mention and parallel story, can we even truly consider any of these characters resurrected?