Our Encounters with Evil: Adventures of Professor J.T. Meinhardt and His Assistant Mr. Knox

Dark Horse. Nov. 2019. 88p. ISBN 9781506711669. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781506711812. Rated: Teen+. fantasy
Author and illustrator Johnson-Cadwell presents a collection of three short tales featuring the further adventures of characters created by Mignola (Hellboy; B.P.R.D.: 1956) for the pair’s 2017 collaboration, Mr. Higgins Comes Home. In the opening story, the titular monster hunters, aided by their enigmatic ally Madam Van Sloan, pursue a legendarily vicious vampire through a forest filled with cutthroats and scoundrels and eventually stumble into a town populated by vampires hiding a startling secret. Next, their investigation into a series of savage animal attacks leads them to a group of bat/human hybrids with an origin story only slightly less bizarre than the concluding twist. The final and best tale explores a cultured werewolf’s process of turning the tables on the monster hunters by carefully luring them into a deadly trap and ends on a deeply poignant note.
VERDICT Johnson-Cadwell shares Mignola’s taste for stories-within-stories, gruesome mythologies, and a reminiscent, though less refined, illustration style, resulting in a work that is satisfyingly horrific but refreshingly imaginative and playful.

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