Story: Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson
Art: Stephen Green
Colors: Dave Stewart
What They Say:
Separated from the rest of the BPRD, Hellboy finds himself in the company of a familiar enemy with a new weapon—and plans to test it out on Hellboy.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the things that works in the Hellboy/BPRD’s favor is that it doesn’t feel like it has to be restricted to series of a certain length. With a range of specials over the years, a faithful following of readers, and a strong interest in collections of the shorter stories later on, Hellboy fans get to have stories that can be told in the length and style needed. The Black Sun story from the 1954 setting is just two issues long and it’s one that works perfectly for it, especially since it can just be summed up with Hellboy spitting the word Nazi’s and knowing that he’s going to finish off a particular group. There are no surprise to be had in a way but the book delivered well on those that last time around as it played in the realm of The Thing and then veered in totally unexpected directions.
With him having stumbled into the whole secret underground arctic base of Nazi’s that have what seemed like dozens of smaller UFOs that they’re building, well, it was a visual for the ages. The payoff with it isn’t quite as strong as one would like as the bulk of this book is dialogue and exposition. Admittedly interesting dialogue and exposition but it’s bookended by the action itself and the thing kind of drags because of that. I like the opening segment of action as we get Hellboy just trying to talk things out but the Nazi’s aren’t exactly interested in that, more in killing him and then capturing him upon new orders using their accelerator beam weapons. It’s a crazy setup that’s definitely appealing with how it unfolds and how he keeps alive until everything just goes against him and he’s shackled – again. We know those won’t last until he’s ready to move on to other things but it’s a fun if seemingly regular visual over the years.
While the truth of the flying saucers in its original form isn’t revealed here, as apparently the Soviets have it now, the arrival of the Black Sun leader in Eckart has him talking about the end days of the war and why his group are the true successors to what Hitler began. It is a very familiar story idea but Eckart’s got the right kind of intensity to pull it off while also coming across as someone who actually gets why it all went down. His need for Hellboy is in his being a potential power source, which gets a little wonky when you get down to it, but looking for realistic expectations about how to power Nazi UFOs miles under the ice in the arctic isn’t exactly something one should be looking for – especially in a 1954 kind of view. What Roberson does with the story here works well though and it feels like we’re seeding more events that will be coming up, which I’m all in favor of explore.
Hellboy continues to be a very fun property to reconnect with even though I’m staying at the fringes with the tales from the past and the shorter works like this as opposed to any of the ongoing material. Though this issue feels like it’s a lot more exposition heavy than it needs to be I do like what it presents, Hellboy’s rebuttal to a lot of it, and the ensuing action and his blase approach to it at the end. Roberson keeps it flowing pretty well, all things considered, and Stephen Green has some really fun action pieces to it while also coming up with some good visuals and layouts for the dialogue heavy sequences with our shackled Hellboy. Here’s to more 1954 adventures!
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 19th, 2016