Hellboy: Blood & Iron Victor Cook

Hellboy: Blood & Iron Victor Cook
The second animated feature in the series of spin-offs from Guillermo del Toro’s successful adaptation of Hellboy to the big screen, Blood & Iron is leaps and bounds beyond Sword of Storms. The first was a hack-and-slash adventure through ancient and modern Japan that was most impressive for its translation of Japanese art into animation. The second is a vampire thriller lavishly sprinkled with twists and turns. Blood & Iron opens with a flashback to Professor Bruttenholm’s first field mission, during which he dispatched the vain but powerful vampire Erzsebet Ondrushko. From there we get two parallel stories, one in the present with the rebirth of Ondrushko and one in the past that shadows the main story while being told in reverse, Memento-style. The dual stories give Blood & Iron a greater level of suspense and character. The simple, stylish animation suits the dark, gothic mood and the actors all return to reprise their roles from the live action movie, so the voice work is obviously covered. As well, del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola serve as creative producers, which helps to give the franchise some type of consistency. The commentary with Mignola, supervising producer and director Tad Stone, and episode director Vic Cook reveals the evolution the episode went through, including the need to expand the film by 20 minutes, which resulted in the flashbacks-in-reverse story, also explained in greater detail in the featurette "Reversal of Fortune: Professor Broom’s Story.” Another featurette, "Tales From the Tomb: A Look Inside Blood & Iron,” is also included. However, the highlights for Hellboy fans, above and beyond the terrific feature, would be the bonus animated super-short "Iron Shoes,” which pits Hellboy against an Irish demon, the E-comic exclusive "The Penanggalan” and a 32-page mini-comic. This is a fantastic stopgap until del Toro releases his live action sequel, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. (Anchor Bay)