Hellboy Volume 9: The Wild Hunt, written by Mike Mignola, illustrated by Duncan Fegredo (2008-2009): Cleverly (and for new readers welcomingly), Mignola’s Hellboy output now splits almost evenly into two categories — standalone stories of one to three issues about Hellboy’s past, and the ‘mythology’ stories about Hellboy’s role in the coming apocalypse.
The Wild Hunt is one of the latter. I’d imagine it’s almost impenetrable to a newbie (hence the standalone stories to bring new readers in without requiring them to buy a whole trade if they don’t want to). It’s pretty essential for those who’ve followed The Story Thus Far, though.
Having left the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence several years earlier, Hellboy begins the volume chilling at the home of some dead friends. Well, the ghosts of dead friends. Some Upper-Class British Twits convince Hellboy to join in the Wild Hunt, which they maintain is a periodic hunt for newly awakened giants in the British countryside. But they may not be telling the truth. Meanwhile, other foes — including Merlin’s femme fatale Nimue — are running their own game.
Basically, everybody wants to somehow fulfill the nebulous prophecy that Hellboy will bring about the end of the Earth except Hellboy, who manfully wrestles with his destiny (indeed, even the meaning of his destiny) as he always has. We get one shocking revelation, some extreme giant-fighting, some creepy and a bit inexplicable stuff in what seems to be the land of the Faerie, and a slight increase in the murkiness surrounding Hellboy’s future. An enjoyable installment in all, though not a jumping-on point. Recommended.