Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954 #1 Review

Black Hole Sun (Cause Why Not)

Written By: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art by: Stephen Green, Dave Stewart, Mike Huddleston
Letters: Mike Huddleston
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Review by: Ryan Douglas

*Non Spoilers and Score at the Bottom*

I haven't read a Hellboy book in awhile. So I was excited to jump into this new series. We get to see what shenanigans the red devil will get into. Since the issue is a number one, it's a great jumping-on point for new readers and old fans.

The most recent "Hellboy and the B.P.R.D." series was based in 1953. We find this story titled "Black Sun" based at Fletcher's Ice Island (Alaska) in 1954. Jumping in we find Hellboy and Woodrow Farrier from B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) landing in Alaska by plane. B.P.R.D. has been sent to investigate a paranormal creature attack against two scientists, killing one. There we're introduced to Slater, a scientist from the Arctic Research Lab awaiting their arrival. Slater then leads them to his station where the other scientists wait.

Slater introduces Hellboy and Woody to the rest of the crew after entering the hut. Throughout the page, the artist shows Woody taking off his hood and scarf from his jacket. Woody then introduces himself to the crew. The reveal of Woody being black makes most of the crew uncomfortable. They're probably salty that there's a black man who's on the same level as them. Slater even makes a comment about his skin tone and mentions being surprised B.P.R.D. would send a black person. Woody shows his tough skin and reminds Slater of the problem at hand. Eat it Slater!

Heurlin, the like-minded one of the group provided details about the attack against the crew. He explains a seismologist had gone out to investigate seismic readings picked up. After some time the crew went out to search for him. The crew finds the body mauled and almost unrecognizable. While bringing the body back to the station they are attacked once again. Luckily, Heurlin fires a flare gun giving them time to get away. During the attack, only an injury was sustained by a crew member.

Woody is quite fascinated by the unknown creature. One crew member has his doubts and believes they are just dealing with a polar bear. Woody explains based on what he's gathered, believes they have come across an undocumented species. He's very eager to gather a team and get out and begin the search. The crew gives him the "are you crazy?" look. Heurlin is the only member able and willing to join both Hellboy and Woody.

It doesn't take too long for them to be attacked. Here, we finally get our first look at the creature. It turns out to be a mutated polar bear that looks like it may have been bred with Killer Croc. Both Hellboy and the creature brawl it out for a moment before Hellboy head butts the yeti-croc and is able to knock it out.

For the short time the sun is out in Alaska, the sunrise reveals a spaceship partially buried in the snow. They find the pilot outside the ship mauled to death. Hellboy decides to explore the inside of the ship. Inside the ship we see there's only enough room for one person. It's quite the tight squeeze for Hellboy and bumps into a button which sets off the ship. The hatch above him slams shut, seal tight, and the ship begins to start up. The vibrations from the ship cause the ice to crack and break, dropping the ship into the Arctic Ocean. Luckily we see Heurlin is able to pull Woody off the ship in time. While the ship is sinking into the water Hellboy was knocked unconscious. After waking up he exits the ship to find himself in a military base full of the exact same ships. There Hellboy finds himself surrounded by Nazi guard’s guns drawn.

This was a great issue for new readers to jump into. We're introduced to Woody, a new B.P.R.D. affiliate. I'm slightly confused on how Hellboy ended up in a Nazi base after falling into the Arctic Ocean. Maybe that's the point? We'll see if it's explained in the next issue. Besides that, I enjoyed the setup of the book. Dave Stewart's colors really stood out to me on this issue. He's able to capture the feel of the Alaskan nightscape very well. This team has got my attention.  

Bits and Pieces:

We find the story based in Alaska. Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson begin a new tale for Hellboy. Hellboy is sent to investigate an undocumented species. We're introduced to a new B.P.R.D. affiliate, Woodrow Farrier joining Hellboy. The investigation leaves Hellboy and Woodrow in an even worst position. This is a great jumping on point for new readers to get into Hellboy. The art alone sells this book!


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