Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Review - Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"Size and smell don't matter. Last year I ran up against a kid's pet dog that mutated until it was the size of a small house."

Hellboy deals with the strange and extraordinary. His daily routine is anything but routine and it takes him to interesting places where he meets interesting characters. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 from Dark Horse Comics takes him to the Arctic for some new people to meet. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson, illustrated by Stephen Green and colored by Dave Stewart.

When an unknown creature attacks a research group on an Arctic expedition, Hellboy and the BPRD are sent to investigate. No longer the newbie, Hellboy thinks he can solve the mystery immediately, but what they find in the snow reveals something much bigger behind the beast.

Despite the fact that Hellboy has seen just about everything, Mignola and Roberson still manage to make the story in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 worth reading. Traveling to the Arctic makes for an interesting change of scenery and the writing duo give Hellboy plenty of room to be Hellboy. The story offers a slow build-up to a pretty big reveal at the end that's something of a twist as well. In fact, Mignola and Roberson effectively offer up two stories by the end of the issue--both of which still maintain everything that's great about Hellboy. The dialogue is entertaining throughout and offers some levity for what would otherwise be some pretty dire situations.

Green does a pretty fantastic job with the artwork, emphasizing a youthful Hellboy with a lot of harsh lines and sharp edges. It's an interesting approach taken by Green in illustrating Hellboy with a sort of slumped and worn appearance that emphasizes the intense experiences he's been privy to. The scientists in the issue also all sport varying levels grizzledness reflective of the creature(s) stalking them. The panels are presented quite cleanly and leaving the gutters empty provides atmospheric context that fits with the Arctic narrative. Stewart's colors are a great fit and add to the moodiness of the area, primarily with Hellboy's sharp red standing in sharp contrast to the blue skies of the Arctic night.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 is a pretty fun first issue that sets up a couple of arcs. Hellboy is squaring off against something paranormal again, but that's just another day in the life for the character. Mignola and Roberson's script is paced well and sets things up cleanly, offering multiple levels of intrigue. Green's illustrations fit with the Hellboy aesthetic and effectively capture the desolation of the Arctic. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 hits all the right notes and offers a pretty entertaining read as far as a first issue goes.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1 is in stores September 21.

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