Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955–Occult Intelligence #1

Writers: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colorist: by Dave Stuart
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

A review by Stacy Dooks

Ever since I first encountered him in the pages of Dark Horse Presents, I’ve always been fond of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy: the world’s greatest occult investigator. Mignola basically threw his love of history, folklore, mythology, and the works of Jack Kirby and H.P. Lovecraft into a blender and hit puree. The result is something wholly unique and one of the most original comics creations of the past twenty years.

Hellboy has already had decades of adventures we haven’t heard about since his arrival to Earth in 1944. However, recently Mignola and a select few comics creators have peeled back the curtain on Hellboy’s early adventures with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. And this brings us to Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955–Occult Intelligence #1 

One of the things that strikes me about the book is how well the series manages to establish a feel for time and place. With the series having moved into the middle of the 1950s, the traditional enemies of the B.P.R.D., the Nazi mad scientists, have faded into the background. World War Two is a thing of the past, but the Cold War is intensifying. The Bureau is on the cusp of discovering they have competition on the other side of the Iron Curtain. If that’s not enough, add a routine stopover in the south pacific at a dangerous time; a potentially even more devastating weapon in the form of an e-bomb; some missing soldiers; and sightings of something huge in the water. Basically, we have the potential for something I never thought possible but now want more than anything in this world: Hellboy. Vs. Kaiju.

As first issues go, this one is a strong start to an intriguing series. Mignola and Roberson set up plenty of new mystery, while simultaneously rewarding readers of the previous series.The art by Brian Chirulla is outstanding, with linework and design that reminds me of Herge’s work on Tintin. I’m reasonably sure Tintin and Captain Haddock didn’t fight baby Kaiju. However, if they did kind reader, please inform me immediately. Finally, the colors by Dave Stuart pop, adding an animated quality that is reminiscent of the classic Hanna-Barbera Johnny Quest series.

The Verdict:
Buy It! Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955–Occult Intelligence
is a fun romp that offers mystery, engaging characters, and Hellboy getting to punch Kaiju. It’s a return to the character’s occult investigator roots and a chance to see the legend as a young man, learning the art and craft of monster-hunting. Recommended.

Stacy Dooks
Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour: http://tfph.libsyn.com/

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