Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
Seed of Destruction is the beginning of the Hellboy saga, collecting the first short stories of Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and the rest of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Reading much like a hard boiled detective story, We discover Hellboy's origins, as well as his link to the Nazis, the Mad Monk Rasputin, and his destiny. Complex, dark, and a full throated tip of the hat to B-grade cinema as well as Micky Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler. John Byrne helms writing duties on this first foray into the paranormal, because at the time, Mignola was worried he couldn't write a story well enough for what he envisioned (if you read any of his stuff, you know this just is simply not true - Mignola is a master storyteller in his own right). The benefit to Byrne writing this first story is that it freed Mignola to really focus on the art, evoking an off kilter, almost claustrophobic sense as the story continues. By the time your halfway through the story, your heart is racing, a thin sheen of sweat may have broken out on your brow, and you genuinely fear for the well being of the characters. This is a hell of a start for any series, much less one that spawned two well received movies, a bunch of awards, and a truly unique hero that's not really super, or much of a hero either.