Review - Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Hellboy will be in the driver's seat for this assignment, though, so you can follow his lead."

Hellboy's general mission is to prevent demonic evil from making its way to the world. On a daily level, Hellboy's role is to investigate any and all who could possibly contribute to the aforementioned evil cause. In Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 from Dark Horse Comics, the B.P.R.D. is tasked with confronting escalating tensions with the U.S.S.R. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson, illustrated by Yishan Li, Mike Norton and Michael Avon Oeming and colored by Dave Stewart.

Pressure is mounting within the bureau to uncover the Soviets' secret plans, but a suspicious cover-up leads one agent off the radar in search of answers. Meanwhile, demonic Soviet occult leader Varvara pushes her team to follow her own whims, and Hellboy is sent on the mission that led to his infamous misadventures in Mexico. But even more clandestine plots are at work--both inside the B.P.R.D. and out.

Setting Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. against the backdrop of the Cold War is something that always seems to work as Roberson taps into that atmosphere to give Hellboy and crew their latest mission. What's fresh about Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 is that Roberson is showing a somewhat vulnerable Hellboy who's genuinely going through something emotionally. Because his world is so much larger than him though, Roberson doesn't miss a beat in starting multiple storylines, many of which will likely dovetail together at some point. Hellboy has always been a fascinating character whose countenance rarely conveys what's really going on as a being straddling the line between two worlds and it's always refreshing when the character is explored a bit in that regard. Roberson's dialogue is pretty lighthearted considering the stakes of the story; the characters are all in the thick of it, but they don't speak in hyperbole.

The artwork throughout the issue is just the right amount of Hellboy stylistically. Characters are at the forefront of every panel as they inhabit spartan, brutalist buildings that accurately reflect the bureaucratic settings of the Federal government. The styles of the three artists blend together well. Norton's probably feels the most "Hellboy," Li's evokes a manga style while Oeming relies on his traditionally blockier approach for the characters. The panels are very cleanly arranged which makes for a straightforward reading experience. And Stewart's colors are spot-on as always, effectively drawing the reader into Hellboy's world.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 is another great chapter in Hellboy's evergoing saga. Hellboy is looking to be a bit player as of now, but as the story unfolds it's likely his role will increase. Roberson's narrative is very well-paced and moves pieces into place. The artwork is a great mix of styles from different artists that all does a fantastic job of rendering the characters of the B.P.R.D. in all their paranormal investigative glory. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 is a fun read for fans of the property as it provides even more insight into the fan-favorite characters.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #1 is available November 28.