The opening Hellboy story has, just on the surface, one major problem. Hellboy wrote Abe a letter, the text of that letter is the story’s narration. Hellboy writes letters where he sounds like an expository narrator. How uninteresting. Then it turns out the story’s actually Hellboy’s secret origin (he’s the son of a demon and a nun). Should be interesting. Isn’t. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t have any dramatic oomph.
Campbell’s got a sort of creepy, sort of not Alec story. It’s well-done if somewhat pointless.
Apparently Dark Horse thought they needed some cartoonists in Presents so they get three. Pollock’s Devil Chef is stupid (being vulgar doesn’t make a comic strip good). Neither does ripping off Ed the Happy Clown like Musgrove does in Fat Dog Mendoza. Gregory’s Bitchy Bitch art isn’t good, but the writing works.
The issue ends on a sublime, lovely note with Pope.
Hellboy, The Chained Coffin; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Alec, The Snooter; story and art by Eddie Campbell. Devil Chef, The Shining; story and art by Jack Pollock. Fat Dog Mendoza, The Secret Life of Leftovers; story and art by Scott Musgrove. Bitchy Bitch, Dream On; story and art by Roberta Gregory. Yes; story and art by Paul Pope. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.