Review Brew: Hellboy and the BPRD 1954 Black Sun #1
Written by: Chris Roberson & Mike Mignola
Art By: Stephen Green
Color Art By: Dave Stewart
Letters By: Clem Robins
After the announcement of both Hellboy’s main arc ending and the departure of Mike Mignola from writing the character (but is still on as a consultant), the fate of the character remained slightly unclear. While it was announced that more stories would be made, in the long stretch of time not covered by Mignola, it was a situation we hadn’t seen the character before. That said, as the 1950 mini series have been coming out, it truly seems like the character hasn’t missed a beat. With Roberson taking over writing duties, the transition has been seamless, and this newest mini continues the trend.
The really interesting aspect of Hellboy is the ability to pick up the character with any given mini series. Unlike BPRD or other series, every story is contained, and even if there are references to previous stories, there’s never a feeling of missing aspects if you just picked this up. This is no different from the last mini, and other than an aside about a mutant dog, this is completely self-contained. The story structure is that of a classic Hellboy bend; where Hellboy and a fellow BPRD agent, Woodrow Farrier, are sent to investigate an attack on a scientist in the Arctic. You immediately get a Lovecraftian Mountains of Madness feel, and as more of the story unfolds, the influence becomes clearer and clearer. What really stood out in this issue was a continuation of the Hellboy team using the time period effectively, instead of it just being a timestamp to allow Hellboy to be young. With Woodrow being African American, there comes some prejudice from the team of scientists working in the Arctic, which, while an ugly trait, does sadly make sense for the time. The story seems to be moving straight forward, but with an odd twist in the last few pages. This is looking like another hit for Roberson on Hellboy.
With Paolo and Joe Rivera on the art duties in the last Hellboy miniseries, the bar for the art was set quite high. Dave Stewart always brings it, as he did here as well, but Stephen Green was a new name to Mignola-verse. From page one, Green has a perfect foothold on the feel of the world, with a style not only reminiscent of previous Mignola-verse artists like James Harren, but also a great compliment to guys like Mignola and Guy Davis. The storytelling is clear, and the linework and design are very strong as the story goes on. Green’s rendering of motion and action is very unique, with a specific type of linework on the outside of the figures, giving the feel of extreme speed and force. While seen before, Green manages to do this in a very clear style, managing to not muddy up the story from panel to panel. With Stewart adding further cementing in Hellboy lore with his classic earthy and bright red palette, I cannot wait to see more from Green on this book.
Once again, Dark Horse has a real home run on their hands with this Hellboy mini series. If you’ve been on the fence about the character, and have been scared off from the large backlog, I would urge you to jump in here.
5 Mutations out of 5