Mark Morris – The All-Seeing Eye (Dark Horse Books, 2008, 300 p.)
MURDER AND MAGIC
In a London funeral parlor, the dead rise and walk again. On a train in the London Underground, a young couple is terrorized by a demon. In the suburbs, a poltergeist forces a family to flee their home.
Hellboy has his hands full.
While the supernatural is on a rampage in London, a series of brutal "Torso Murders" turns up at various sites around the city. All of the corpses are headless, limbless and drained of their blood.
Called in to investigate the killings, B.R.R.D. agents Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman discover a wellspring of black magic under the London streets – along with a sack of heads. Hellboy descends into the dark underworld of London, encountering demons who prophesy a coming plague and the opening of an Eye to the otherworld, bringing death and destruction upon the land.
Hellboy in London. While a few of the additional Hellboy comic series have a London or England background – like the historical Witchfinder – this is the only novel by a British writer, if I am not mistaken. I had high hopes for this, as Mark Morris has written quite a few novelizations.
But for this kind of book it is rather slow, and while Morris uses a lot of London lore at first – the underground, rivers under the streets, some sightseeing, an obscure Victorian occultist, a tabloid reporter -, at the end this kind of vanishes. I guess it is me. I have read quite a few "London" novels and stories, and I am a big fan of Paul McAuley's occult London stories, so I expected more in this vein. Which at the end didn't materialized. Novelizations are a difficult thing to write, comic novelizations even more, and a thing like Hellboy with its folklore ghosts, Lovecraftian elements and pulp must be the most difficult of all. This novel didn't work for me.