ADVANCE REVIEW: Hellboy and the B.R.P.D 1953 #1: The Phantom Hand & The Kelpie

Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 28, 2015

So after numerous issues of both Hellboy and B.P.R.D the two combine again.  This time highlighting the start of their working together against the evils of the paranormal.  This book chronicles Hellboy’s first ghost hunt, with Professor Bruttenholm and in my neck of the world, the UK.  As such, for fans of both series, there is a lot to like.  For the casual fan like me, maybe not so much.

Mike Mignola is on hand with a straight up no frills type of ghostly affair.  This may feel like a step back from what you would normally expect from Mignola, but that is only a knee jerk reaction.  As any writer should know, you have to build foundations in order to build something strong.  Of course, with this being a prequel book, its kind of like building foundations for foundations.  Which leads me to the question…why? Dialogue wise the book reads well and the characters, admittedly mainly the B.P.R.D side of  the equation, interact well, with Hellboy relegated to muscle status.

Art is by Mignola-verse favourite Ben Stenbeck, providing the look that you would expect.  With the inclusion of Hellboy, it would be tempting to emulate Mignola and I for one am glad that Stenbeck has stuck to his artistic guns.  As always, it seems, the excellent Dave Stewart is on color duties, giving proceedings the usual Mignola-verse vibe.

This book is a confusing one.  It’s on record how much of a Mike Mignola fan I am and I have been impressed with some of the recent B.P.R.D series, so this book should be a no brainer.  However, when reading the book, I found myself wondering what the point of the series is.  Fair is fair, this isn’t just a problem with this book.  I sometimes wonder why we have prequel books.  Sure, there have been some good ones, Year One springs to mind.  But we have also had The Phantom Menace.  This book, for me the casual reader, is ok.  That said, I am sure those that are heavily invested in either series will enjoy it.

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