Hellboy and The B.P.R.D. 1952 #1
Story- Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Art- Alex Maleev
Colors- Dave Stewart
A few weeks ago I was a guest on the Talking Comics podcast for the book club discussion of Hellboy Volume 1: The Seed of Destruction. It was my first exposure to the comic series as I had previously only seen the movies. I really enjoyed it and wanted to dive into more of the series. I’m glad I waited because now I can read what came before that first volume. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.1952 serves as a prequel to most of the Hellboy fiction.
With so much Hellboy out there it’s a wonder that this particular concept hasn’t been brought to life before. This is a teenage Hellboy on his first mission with the B.P.R.D. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi make the most of Hellboy’s limited page time in this issue by giving us just enough to show that this isn’t the same old Hellboy. He’s eager but unsure of himself, doesn’t really speak with his dad and can’t wait to get out of the house. So basically he’s a normal teenager. What I liked about this issue was that it is almost all setup. I’m new to this universe, so having it be light on action and heavy on exposition was perfect. I found the pacing in the issue to be excellent. It leaves off building tension and excitement for what’s to come next.
As excited as I was to dig into a new Hellboy series, I was equally excited when I saw it was Alex Maleev doing the art. I’ve always been a big fan of his style dating back to his days on Daredevil. While he doesn’t exactly match Mignola’s style, he does match perfectly the visual tone of the series. You could open just the first page of the issue and you would know that this is a Hellboy book. That feeling is carried through out the issue. Maleev is a perfect fit for this universe. It’s worth noting that the book retained Dave Stewart as color artist, so long time fans will feel right at home even with the artist change. My favorite page in the book is a close up of Hellboy’s face when he learns about his first assignment. The youthful “it’s my time” smile there matches the attitude Mignola and Arcudi set for Hellboy. It’s good, albeit small example of what writer and artist coming together to tell a story looks like.
Buy it. Simply put, this is an atmospheric book with great art that serves as a wonderful jumping on point. Whether you’re a long time reader of either Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. series or someone who has been looking for a chance to jump into the character, this is worth picking up.