Picture it, a tiny village in Brazil, 1952. There have been 33 people murdered, most everyone else has abandoned it, but a few people struggle on against some unknown paranormal threat.
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters? They don’t show up for another 32 years. You need HELLBOY and the B.P.R.D., but are they any good?
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952 Vol. 1 (Dark Horse Comics)
“My hand is totally giving me scoliosis”
It’s 1952, and we’ve got a young Hellboy about to go on his first field assignment to the Brazilian village I mentioned above. This is a can’t miss tale, right?
“And Pants! And shave down your freaky horns!”
Unfortunately, it misses a bit.
The draw of most Hellboy stories is that in today’s modern world, he’s a deep connection with the past, with magic and mysticism, and how that is in direct contrast to the technology of the modern day. He favors a revolver and swords at times, and his enemies are almost always some form of technologically enhanced baddies – twisting the clean nature of science to try to unlock the evil of the paranormal.
The issue I take with this…issue is that because it’s set in the past, with a young Hellboy, we don’t get the same conflict between magic and tech. Everyone is pretty much on the same plane in this story, from the remaining villages and their very basic lifestyles, to the B.P.R.D. team themselves and their overreliance on science.
Also, the plot itself is pretty see-through; you’re pretty spot on at picking out not only the bad guy, but also where the eventual pile of evil, technologically enhanced monkey killers are going to come from.
Yes. I said evil, technologically enhanced monkey killers.
DID YOU FEED THEM AFTER MIDNIGHT??!?!
Is It Good?
The bones are still solid, but the skin and meat around them are a little off.
Also, has anyone noticed that Hellboy’s fighting method is pretty much Rocky Balboa? i.e., get the ever loving snot beat out of you for 8-10 pages, and then dig deep to deliver the final smackdown?
Having read the continuation of the 1952 BPRD series it does get better. I think this volume also suffers a bit from a “let’s get a series really moving” standpoint. Still, it’s not bad, it’s not amazing…it’s just solidly okay. If you’re collecting Hellboy, you won’t regret buying it, but it’s not going to be on your shelf of favorites either.
Sorry Hellboy, hate to say it that way. We’re still bros though, right?
Okay, you’re mad. I’ll just see myself out.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!