Thursday, 3 December 2015

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952 Review (Mike Mignola, Alex Maleev)


I was hoping this one was going to be a throwback of sorts to when Hellboy appeared alongside the likes of Abe Sapien and Professor Trevor Bruttenholm; unfortunately, aside from the Professor making a brief cameo at the start, there’s no sign of any classic BPRD characters in this book, just a group of forgettable military types who accompany a teenage Hellboy on his first mission to Brazil. At least we’re well away from the current state of things in the BPRD series which is a static and increasingly tedious apocalypse-in-slow-motion. 

Disappointingly, Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952 is about as formulaic as you can get for a Hellboy story. If you’ve read a lot of this character’s comics, you’ll be struggling to stay awake with this one. There’s some spooky goings-on in a rural town, there’s a large ape in a mask attacking people, Nazis (of course) are doing crazy experiments, and it’s the end of the… worl…..zzzz…..

It’s rarely a good sign when John Arcudi’s listed as co-writer. He’s responsible for some of the dreariest BPRD books like The Warning, War on Frogs, and King of Fear. I know it’s him dragging the quality down because I read his recent solo Image comic, Rumble, and it suuuuucked while Mignola’s solo stuff is usually really good. As far as I know this is Alex Maleev’s debut in the Mignolaverse, and, while I usually enjoy his work, his art here is fairly mediocre with few standout panels.

There’s really not much to say about this one. Hellboy’s supposedly young and inexperienced but he does alright for his first mission, doing what he does best: punching Nazis and lesser monsters. There’s no real mystery to speak of and everything plays out predictably. Maybe newer readers won’t find this quite so boring and actually it's a pretty good jumping on point as you don't need to know anything about Hellboy to read this; but if you’ve been reading Hellboy for years like me, this book offers little to hold your attention. 

Let’s have less John Arcudi and a series that reunites Hellboy, Abe, Liz, Roger, and Johann in pre-Hell on Earth with Mignola writing solo instead!

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952

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