By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Alex Maleev and Dave Stewart
This go-round we get to see a little more Hellboy and a little more action, and everything feels like a warm, familiar blanket from your childhood. It’s like Hellboy of old and it’s something that’s been lacking from comic shelves for far too long. A book of this calibre, with a creative team of this level, is not something that we get often enough—and maybe that’s a good thing, so when we do get it, it’s special—but it sure feels like a shining light amongst a lot of bland, middle-of-the-road work.
And, hey, before that gets you up in arms about all the great comics out there, yes, there are a lot of great comics produced week in and week out but, on the other side of that, there are certainly a lot that aren’t great. Hellboy and the BPRD just happens to be standing a little taller than most.
Whether or not Mignola and John Arcudi are just in a nostalgic mood or that’s just how a story of Hellboy’s first case plays out, Hellboy and the BPRD #2 reads and feels like it would fit perfectly in amongst the classic Hellboy line-up like just another mini-series within the main series, as was the case back then. To be able to step back almost twenty years and bring back that feeling of freshness, while still being familiar, is a helluva trick to pull off. If you haven’t read the original Hellboy run, this might sound like nonsensical gibberish, because it really is difficult to put into words, but with Hellboy and the BPRD everything just feels right. Truly, without missing a beat, Mignola and Arcudi have stoked the flame and it feels about time to go back and re-read Hellboy again.
At certain points in his art, you can’t help but feel like Alex Maleev is paying homage to the master, Mike Mignola. Some shots of Hellboy, the angles and the shading, you’d swear were done by Mignola himself on some of those early Hellboy books. Maybe that’s crazy talk because, obviously, Maleev has his own style and technique and maybe there’s more detail, but damn. Some of those panels and angles of Hellboy during his Demon brawl are just uncanny. Aside from that, which is a big plus of course, Maleev shines with his character work. All the characters and expressions and postures are just fantastic and expertly drawn. Even with his lack of backgrounds, a Mignola signature, add to the nostalgic feel of the book. Not to mention you add in Dave Stewart who adds even more classic looking colors, with his signature Dave Stewart mastery, to the book and, damn, this is not only a great looking book it brings back so many feels.
Hellboy and the BPRD is full of feels; the art and the story are of Hellboy of old, with a hint of new car smell. It’s everything that every Hellboy fan ever wanted, without Mignola going back on his “once it’s broken, it can’t be fixed” line. Sure, that line was more about what he was doing, and has done, in B.P.R.D., but it applies here as well. This series is for you, even if you’ve never read Hellboy and won’t have these feels. Why? Because it’s a great comic and I guarantee you’ll want you dive right into the Mignolaverse shortly after. Even if you’re late to the party.