Story: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson
Art: Stephen Green
Colors: Dave Stewart
What They Say:
When an unknown creature attacks a research group on an Arctic expedition, Hellboy and the BPRD are sent to investigate. No longer the newbie, Hellboy thinks he can solve the mystery immediately, but what they find in the snow reveals something much bigger behind the beast.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having started my reconnect with the Hellboy franchise through the three issue 1953 series out earlier this year and then getting a dose of other stories in the trade collection, the arrival of the first of two issues for this 1954 series definitely has me interested in seeing more of what’s going on. The disconnect from the present day material is a plus and I like this “younger” Hellboy and the kind of X-Files-ish missions. This installment again comes from Mignola and Roberson with Stephen Green on board for the artwork. It’s definitely a book that looks great as it takes on the locale and local color of characters, something that’s definitely aided by Dave Stewarts always spot-on color work.
This story has Hellboy and his group landing on Fletcher’s Ice Island in the Arctic ocean in early 1954 where they’ve been called in to the research lab up there that’s experiencing quite the issue. With the group here having been accosted by some sort of creature, the BPRD has sent in Hellboy with Woodrow Farrier to figure out if this is truly an undocumented creature, and boy is Farrier excited. The opening installment gives us a lot of the usual meet and greet stuff with the science team that’s up there where there are definitely some very strong loner types and gruff personalities. With one of their group dead, a seismologist that got taken down and butchered in the middle of the night, the group may be gruff but they’re adamant about not going out there much since they’ve had a few attacks and plenty of fear. Hellboy, for his part, is pretty keen to find out what’s out there considering his recent experiences with a giant oversized dog.
The investigation is definitely a lot of fun as Heurlin goes, a man who served in the Alaskan Guard for some time and is brave enough to head out there, we get some of the basics with a mutated polar bear and just some general ugliness considering the little bit of sunlight they get to investigate it all with. There’s a lot of fun with the dialogue throughout this, especially as Hellboy is just kind of blase about it, but the look on their faces when they discover a partially submerged old school round UFO in the ice? Oh, that’s priceless. The best part is that what we get there really is just the beginning as it leads us down to what looks like some truly great craziness ahead with what’s far below the ice. I love wonky and wacky post-WW2 stories and this particular world is rife with them. Suffice to say, we’re all in.
While the book kicks off with a kind of nod towards The Thing, something that almost any story in the arctic of this nature will feel like, it makes for some good twists and turns along the way that just keeps you guessing. Hellboy himself is fun and I found myself liking both Farrier and Heurlin and have hopes that their story in the back half of this run is just as enjoyable. Mignola and Roberson set things up well enough here but it’s Green and Stewart that sell it the most, from Hellboy’s expressions to the bleakness of the place both in art and color. Definitely a lot of fun and has me hopeful for more tales from this period in the years to come.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 21st, 2016