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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | October 30, 2006

Fans of “Hellboy” must be sitting pretty, as Mr. Guillermo Del Toro is planning a much anticipated sequel to his underrated, entertaining, and brutally clever 2004 adaptation. But on the flip side are two animated sequels to keep fans’ appetite’s quenched, featuring much of the subversive artistic style that launched Mike Mignola into stardom, and, just to dope up the salivating fan boy, features voice work from its stars the immortal Ron Perlman, the lovely Selma Blair, John Hurt, and Doug Jones chronicling the further adventures of the B.P.R.D.

In “Hellboy: Sword of Storms,” the B.P.R.D. are called out to Japan where they must retrieve an ancient sword that has possessed a folklore expert transforming him into a monster. After a bad skirmish with Mayan zombies, Liz struggles to cope with her amazing power that nearly kills Abe, and must cut her training short when the team is called out to the crime scene of the possession. Hellboy finds himself warped in another land filled with monsters of all kind from floating heads, to killer spiders, and he’s anxiously trying to discover what it all means.

Weinstein and Stones animated semi-sequel is pure Mignola with dark and often grim animation supplemented with an exciting story that never trails from its original source with Hellboy knocking heads, and discovering his environment attempting to outwit the monster who is putting his subjects vast knowledge of mythological monsters to use manifesting it in the environment around Hellboy who he wants dead for mysterious reasons. The animation and landscapes are fantastic with whimsical tones reminiscent of “Vampire Hunter D.”

Fans of the film will find an easy flow with this animated sequel, because not a single step is lost. Blair and Jones are as great as always with engrossing chemistry, but while the live action film was more of a man viewing these monsters who happen to be heroes, the focus is now drawn on the oddities, with Hellboy taking center stage as it should be. Hellboy’s emphases is much more solid this time as he’s intent on helping Liz topple her aggression and solve this mystery of this monster who has wicked plans for Earth.

Perlman who usually performs voice work for animated programs, gives a wonderful performance as the pivotal title character, which is a pre-requisite with the man. Hellboy is always an exciting character to watch on-screen, and here he’s back in business solving crimes, keeping his team in check, and is more than willing to butt heads with a legendary monster of epic proportions only because it’s fun.

Wayne sticks true to the Hellboy character as this powerful monster man who is more like a plumber cleaning up messes left by these beasts, having a good time doing it, and making it home in time for pamcakes. Gotta love pamcakes.

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