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Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Saturn Returns #1 Review

A good procedural mystery that’s perfect for anyone who loves the fall season.

If you live in New England you’ve probably noticed the fall vibe is in full effect. Pumpkin spice lattes are back, grocery stores are selling candy corn, and that desperate desire to get into the Halloween spirit is budding. That’s a big reason why I wanted to read Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Saturn Returns as it’s set in New Hampshire in the fall. There’s bound to be something that goes bump in the night rearing its head.

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So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

A small town in New Hampshire that has been plagued by disappearances is shaken when a local discovers a pile of corpses that date back decades, and Hellboy and B.P.R.D. Agent Kinsley arrive on the scene only to be overwhelmed by supernatural theories for the ritualistic killings.

Mike Mignola teams up with veteran Mignolaverse artist Christopher Mitten, along with new colorist Brennan Wagner and letterer Clem Robins.

Why does this matter?

Do you like hardboiled detective storytelling? If so, you’ll probably love this. This is all about figuring out why dead bodies have turned up, and only Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense can crack the case. 

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, this story drops readers in 1975 New Hampshire. It’s leaf peeping season, but the only thing Hellboy is peeping is cracked open rib cages as he tries to figure out what is going on in a small town.  Agent Kinsley is by Hellboy’s side, who quickly determines the markings on a wall are clearly put there by someone who isn’t actually into witchcraft. There are many more questions than answers and this is a good opening salvo to a mystery that spans a large swath of time in a town that should be for experiencing foliage, not serial murder. 

Christopher Mitten draws this issue with colors by Brennan Wagner and letters by Clem Robins. The detailed work easily makes the fall season apparent and felt. Hellboy has a bit more of a cartoon look to him as his face is comprised of curved angles with yellow dots for eyes. Other details mark the time of year quite well, like a beam of light that pulls your eye across the rubble of a strange structure early on, or later the glow of a lantern on the table outside a hotel. The art practically sends a chill down your spine, further making the book feel right at home for the fall season.

It can’t be perfect, can it?

Newer readers might feel a bit lost with little to no explanation as to who Agent Kinsley is or Liz Sherman who pops in for the b-plot in the book. I’m not fully aware of what Sherman’s deal is, so I felt a bit lost with her inclusion in the story. Outside of this, this is more of a procedural drama more than an action comic filled with monsters. It’s slowly pushing towards some action and monsters I’m sure, but it’s taking its sweet time.

Is it good?

A good procedural mystery that’s perfect for anyone who loves the fall season.

Is it good?
A good procedural mystery that’s perfect for anyone who loves the fall season.
The art (and color) captures the location and season very well
Good procedural mystery that's keeping readers on their toes with details
Not much action or sci-fi/fantasy stuff...yet

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