The Hellboy universe is one of the most intriguing in modern comics, with a mixture of outlandish characters mixed with a deep narrative, Mike Mignola’s creation is an ongoing master piece. The so called Mignolaverse is obviously headed by the enigmatic Big Red but in truth he is part of a team the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence BPRD. With this first issue in this new run (from writers Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, along with artist Alex Maleev, colourist Dave Stewart and letterer Clem Robins) we go back to the start for Hellboy in his time being an active BPRD agent.
The issue shines a light on the treatment and acceptance of Hellboy by a group of agents that he is sent to Brazil with. He is given the assignment by Professor Trevor Brutenholm the director of the BPRD and for all intensive purposes Hellboy’s father. We get to find out his reservations for his adoptive son as the issue opens with a few dramatic scenes that really show why Dave Stewart is one of the best in the colouring business. The biggest stand out colour has to be the reds that are used but the use of shading one of the cornerstones of Mignola’s style are crafted wonderfully with Maleev’s art.
Hellboy himself is depicted as a slightly smaller framed demon than you may be used to but as this is his beginnings and he is still essentially a boy it makes sense that he has some growing to do. You still get the humour that make him so likable but he comes across a little shy. This feeds into the idea of his growing up in a kind of isolation. It helps build him as a multifaceted character and one which you will want to spend time with again and again.
The story itself is an intro very little actually happens other than laying the seeds for the arc. To this end the story is well crafted and does move along at quite a pace. Though we still get time to meet our agents as well as local townspeople who the BPRD are in Brazil to help. Obviously we are desperate to see Big Red kick a little tail and I’m sure that will come but for now I know this is a story I am going to want to keep tabs on and I’m pretty sure you will to.