‘Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 - Family Ties’ - Advance Comic Book Review

This one-shot was surprisingly potent. It’s the first time Mike Mignola has written something with someone other than Christopher Golden in a short while. Chris Roberson certainly brings a dynamic that’s fresh and helps build a lot out of very little.

A book of rituals has gone into print, and Hellboy and Sue (a B.P.R.D. agent with some kind of psychic abilities) are on the lookout for it before it causes some real damage. They stumble upon a suburban house where a family has taken in the book. Things happen quickly, and yet the writers never let it feel rushed. There’s room for the visuals to breathe, and, boy, do they.

I love Laurence Campbell’s take on the Hellboy character and the general style used. Mignola tends to keep a uniform look to his shared universe, but Campbell gives the characters a little more grounded weight, not quite as stylized. Dave Stewart breaks from his normal Hellboy colors and gives us something grittier and grungier, closer to his work on Gideon Falls. It immediately gives this one-shot texture beyond what 32 pages can cover. The use of green is particularly effective. It’s not a color palette that usually sings Hellboy to me, but the supernatural element, again, feels very fresh in this book because of it. It’s dynamic.

Hellboy’s reactions to the horror at play still take the cake. He’s seen it all, and yet he seems so genuinely startled every time something comes his way, with also a hint of blue-collar “why me” thrown in. To this day, he’s one of my favorite comic creations.

Creative Team: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson (story), Laurence Campbell (art), Dave Stewart (colors), Clem Robins (letters), Katii O’Brien (editor), Jenny Blenk (associate editor), Patrick Satterfield (designer), Ann Gray (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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