It’s been 11 minutes and Mike Mignola has written another 7 comics, so here we are with the latest in the Hellboy of the past saga – Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953 numero uno. Let’s find out if it’s any good.
Hellboy and the B.R.P.D. 1953: Beyond the Fences (Dark Horse Comics)
“I mean, KIND OF like Jesus…”
First, let’s give a huge shout out to Paolo Rivera’s Norman Rockwell cover, which captures the 50’s movie of the week vibe this issue seems to be going for.
We find our Big Red hero investigating a slew of missing pets, missing kids, and now a murdered adult in a picture perfect suburb of Rosemead, California. The setting here is like a disturbed episode of Dennis the Menace – with those ideal 50’s houses and playgrounds, and a white picket fence for all.
“Have you seen anything strange around here? Like a 6 foot 5 bright red devil man?”
The mystery hidden behind this sleepy California town is just starting to come unraveled, so the next several issues should clue us in to what dark secrets these suburbanites hold.
Is It Good?
The creepy picture perfect neighborhood trope is one of my favorites. Played funny, like The Burbs, or creepy like Stepford Wives – either way makes for good reading. Hellboy B.R.P.D.: 1953 – Beyond the Fences is taking that trope and bringing in some Lovecraft to make this a very Hellboy-ish world.
Most of the Hellboy issues I’ve read in the past involve far flung places, desolate and ancient, with H.B. running around a slowly moldering castle and hacking the limbs off of creatures. This is a nice break – with kids asking for autographs and a much more human face to the madness.
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
As with most first issues, this one’s got a few foreshadowing sequences that are welcome for plot points, but end up slowing down the action in individual issues. Collected, you’ll run right over these pieces, but here they do stick out a bit.
The artwork, while not Mignola’s usual creepy and heavily lined variety, actually works quite well here with the setting – as the wholesome look of the children and neighborhoods is perfect for this issue.
I’ll give this an 8.5 out of 10. All the pieces are there, it’s solid, and I enjoyed it, but as a first chapter it suffers a little bit from set-up-itis, so subsequent issues should clear that up.
This comic is on sale September 21st!
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 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!