REVIEW: Rise of the Black Flame #1 (of 5)

Young girls are disappearing from the British colonized cities of Burma.  Sergeant Geoffrey McAllister and Constable A.N. Sandhu set out to uncover who is behind the missing girls.  The prevailing theory is the return of a cult, Thuggee, sacrificing victims to Kali.  The two sleuths meet up with Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese Lafleur to explore the Temple of the Black Flame.

Anyone who has spent time with Hellboy and/or the Mignolaverse has come across the Black Flame.  The Black Flame is an undead creature, a skeleton wrapped in black flames. These flames are controlled by him and cannot be extinguished by water.  The Black Flame can also teleport himself and others.

This first issue as expected sets up the mini-series and provides character development, especially for Ms. Jewell and Ms. Lafleur.  These two ladies have had more than their share of otherworldly encounters.  Ms. Jewell even recounts her adventures with Sir Edward Grey.  The writing and panel arrangement make for a quick read.  Although short on action the issue serves very well as a set up for the series.  The art is a seamless match to the Hellboy universe and the coloring and inking compliment.  Specifically, the colors going from dull and drab to bright as the panels move from historical to present are a real high point of this introductory issue.

I look forward to the next issue where I am certain the action will begin to increase.

Story by:  Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art by:  Christopher Mitten
Colors by:  Dave Stewart
Letters by:  Clem Robins
Cover by:  Laurence Campbell & Dave Stewart
Publisher:  Dark Horse

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