The first issue in a 5 issue mini-series focusing on the earlier days of Hellboy’s career with the B.P.R.D.
Dave Johnson handles the cover duties on the first issue of this series. It features Hellboy in front of a large skull. The skull is laughing, and has the Soviet hammer and sickle in the place of one of its eyes. This tells the reader right off the hop that the Soviet Union are going to be at the very least allied with the antagonist of the series, if not outright be the antagonist. While not the most exciting cover I’ve ever seen, it does the job, and Hellboy himself looks great.
There is a large art team working on this series, with multiple artists doing portions of each book. Mike Norton, Yishan Li, Michael Avon Oeming each handle a few pages, and Dave Stewart handles the colouring duties. I’ve seen this in some issues and find that it can make for a disjointed book, however they seem to have broken it up by different story lines within the narrative, and each artist gives their own seperate narrative a unique feel. In this book it works, at least for this issue.
Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson handle the writing duties on this series. It follows three narrative arcs, and though they don’t tie together on this issue. The first narrative sees Hellboy and two novice agents being briefed on their new mission. They are being sent to Mexico to investigate a paranormal threat and put an end to it. The second focuses on Professor Bruttenholm and Mr Linneberg. Bruttenholm is trying to bring to light his concerns with an arcane element, and Mr Linneberg is investigating the Soviet agent that attacked Hellboy previously. The final arc focuses on the Soviets and their alliance with Varvara.
It looks like things are going to get ugly fast with this series, and while the first issue is almost entirely expository, I enjoyed the character development portrayed, especially with Hellboy in the first arc. I actually found his arc to have the most foreboding in how it could effect future issues. Essentially, this is a great narrative issue, and light on the action. Still worth it for my first issue of Hellboy!