Sir Edward Grey, Queen Victoria's personal Witchfinder (i.e. paranormal investigator) is the best at what he does, but when a string of occult-related thefts leave him baffled, he must work alongside some newly discovered allies to figure out what threat these thefts pose and how stop it!
Witchfinder: The Gates of Heaven #1 is the first installment in a new Dark Horse Comics mini-series of the Hellboy spinoff from creator Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson. The Witchfinder series sees Edward Grey do battle with witches, occultists, and secret societies (most notably, the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra) while in the service of her Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Eventually, one such adventure will result in Grey being dragged to Hell, cursed with eternal life, dismembered and then stitched back together. It's in this form, withered and corpse-like, that Grey appears in stories set in the modern day Mignolaverse, such as the second Hellboy mini-series, Wake the Devil.
The Witchfinder series, however, focuses primarily on Grey's previous life as a paranormal investigator in Victorian-era England. In The Gates of Heaven, Grey is shocked to discover there are others conducting their own paranormal research in London, needing to work with these new allies to stop the latest mystical threat to the city. Additionally, Gates of Heaven is billed as a series which will "deliver some unexpected payoffs for Mignolaverse fans", suggesting The Gates of Heaven connects more closely to the larger universe of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. than previous entries in the Witchfinder series.
You can check out an exclusive preview of Witchfinder: The Gates of Heaven #1, below:
WITCHFINDER: THE GATES OF HEAVEN #1, Writers - Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson, Artist - D'Israeli, Colorist - Michelle Madsen
A series of occult events mystifies the man known as the Witchfinder, but even more surprising is the revelation that he is not alone in exploring the paranormal in London. When a personal invitation arrives from the palace, Sir Edward Grey is pulled even deeper into underground supernatural exploration alongside new allies in the race to stop a mad scientist from destroying London in his pursuit of mystical power.
As revealed in these preview pages, the first theft involves an artifact Grey himself had previously recovered and stored in the Tower of London, while another is stolen from the British Museum. It seems safe to assume there'll be something sinister which links these stolen items together, and it seems more than likely the Heliopic Brotherhood is also somehow involved. The Heliopic Brotherhood is a secret society Grey has tangled with on multiple occasions, and their splinter groups - the Osiris Club and Oannes Society - have a similarly bad reputation in the Mignolaverse.
Still, though the Witchfinder series is heavily entrenched in the Hellboy-inspired world of the Mignolaverse, The Gates of Heaven is its own contained story, as writer Chris Roberson explains:
"Like all of the previous volumes of Witchfinder, The Gates of Heaven is a stand-alone story with a beginning, middle, and end, but there are connections throughout to both Sir Edward’s earlier adventures and also to other stories that have featured Hellboy, the B.P.R.D., and other players in that world. We learn that the world that Sir Edward inhabits is bigger and stranger than we ever knew, and that there are far more things going on in the shadows than Sir Edward himself has ever suspected, both abroad and close to home."
Just how the thefts of occult artifacts in Queen Victoria's England ties in with the the wider Mignolaverse remains to be seen, but you'll only find out if you pick up a copy of Witchfinder: The Gates of Heaven #1.