Hellboy and The BPRD 1952
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artist: Alex Maleev
FC, 144 pgs, $19.99 US
In Hellboy and the BPRD 1952, members of the BPRD are sent to a Brazilian village to investigate a series of grisly, unexplained murders. Accompanying them is Hellboy. It’s his first mission.
I’ve been watching Hellboy beat the tar out of monsters for 25 years or more so it was refreshing to see him ask a seasoned agent, “Archie, you’ve been doing this a while. Is this…normal? I mean for what you guys do.” He and Archie– a kind solider that took a shine to young Hellboy when the demon was locked away in a U.S. Air Base– are walking through a cavernous room in the dark bowels of an old prison. The room is full of dead bodies in glass tubes filled with liquid. That kind of personal touch in dialogue is sprinkled throughout this miniseries, like when it is remarked that Bruttenholm did not say good-bye to Hellboy and Bruttenholm curtly replies that Hellboy did not say farewell either. “He hates it here, Margaret,” says Bruttenholm. “We’ve tried to make it a home for him, but he hates it.”
When Hellboy first encounters a dead body in the Brazilian village, he hangs back as the human members of the BPRD team investigate. Hellboy just does not know what to do.
The day before I started this miniseries I had finished BPRD: The Devil You Know volume 3: Ragnarok, the end of the BPRD / Hellboy saga started more than 25 years ago. That volume and everything preceding it makes BPRD / Hellboy one of the greatest achievements in modern comics. As soon as I finished that volume I dug out my Hellboy collections with the intent to start reading the saga all over again. But I remembered I had Hellboy and the BPRD trade paperbacks I had not yet read. 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, and 1956 going back to the early days of Hellboy’s career in the BPRD. New adventures populated with familiar faces from other Mignolaverse stories, including Bruttenholm and Varvara, one of the great “partnerships” in comics. “Because the professor is being my favorite. My favorite human of all.” (Chad Boudreau)