Monday, December 1, 2014

Review - Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1


'"First assignment"...?'

Hellboy is one of those characters who could be a major player in just about any franchise. Truth is though, he's a major player in the Dark Horse universe, getting plenty of attention throughout the years. A prophecy portends him as the destruction of the world, but until then readers can gain a little insights into his past in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, illustrated by Alex Maleev, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Clem Robins.

A bizarre series of murders and rumors of something worse lead Professor Bruttenholm to send a young Hellboy to a Brazilian village on his first mission. Hellboy is joined by Archie Muraro, Jacob Stegner, Susan Xiang and Robert Amsel in a mission uncover something terrible in the shadows of a sixteenth-century Portuguese fortress. Considering the B.P.R.D. is involved, it's expected that things are about to get really weird, really fast.

Hellboy's origins aren't quite that mysterious per se, but it's still nice to get some insights into his origins. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 offers a rather adventurous take on Hellboy's first mission and general acceptance among his "peers" that gives Arcudi time to delve into the reactions to Hellboy. The others in his team know that he has abilities they can't hope to match, but his appearance gives them the same hesitation that others who work alongside him go through. The story boasts the requisite strange events that merit the services of the B.P.R.D. and even gives Hellboy a chance to showcase a little trepidation about the new experience. Mignola and Arcudi are all too familiar with the Hellboy universe and even if Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 is something of an origin story, their script and plot still fit within that canon.

There's a grittiness to the art that's extremely befitting of Hellboy. Hellboy maintains his trademark appearance, with Maleev even offering a great look at the apocalypse that Hellboy is expected to become. The other characters appear more than capable of holding their own in fighting alongside him, evincing a look of grizzled military participants. Hellboy's youthful appearance reminds the reader that he's not quite the formidable fighting machine that he'll eventually grow up to become. Stewart's colors give the book a feel appropriate for the era it depicts and Hellboy's vivid red look really pops off of each page he's featured on.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 is a book that fans of the series will definitely want to check out, as it explores some of the earlier days of red demon. His first mention doesn't seem to be any easier than any of his later missions, even if he is teamed up with other soldiers who seem more than capable of holding their own alongside him. The story by Mignola and Arcudi isn't too deep for the universe, yet still manages to get a little insightful regarding Hellboy and the expectations foisted upon him. Maleev's art maintains the familiar look and feel of Hellboy and his cohorts, giving readers a great look at a young Hellboy mixing it up with others who both respect and fear him. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 is a great issue that explores a character who's been around the block more than a few times.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 is in stores December 3.

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