B.P.R.D. Agent Howards is dead. As his mighty weapon, the Sword of Hyperborea, falls to the ground, Howards’s ancient predecessor awakens from his long sleep. Seeing visions of the future and coming destruction, Gall Dennar sets off to find the storied warriors who created the mighty weapon. But will his quest to find the origin of the Sword of Hyperborea be too much for its bearer to handle?
Mike Mignola’s ever-expanding Hellboy universe might seem a little inaccessible to newcomers, and Sword of Hyperborea #1 might catch the unitiated off-guard in spite of its number-one tag. Personally, I’ve been making my way through the original Hellboy comics (and I dearly love them), but the bulk of the background knowledge needed for this particular book comes from the B.P.R.D. line (which I haven’t dipped my toes into yet). It took a little digging to get my feet under me, but it wasn’t an insurmountable barrier.
Regardless of that, there are some core aspects of this book that make it (and the Hellboy universe overall) so appealing. The way Mike Mignola and Rob Williams tie mythology and ancient history with the present is the gift that always gives. Laurence Campbell’s art and Quinton Winter’s colors create stunning scenes with apocalyptic monsters and pyre-lit neanderthals. As he often does, Mignola knows when to let the artwork carry the story to dramatic effect. While my main concern lies with accessibility, the connection between Ted Howards and Gall Dennar spurred me toward the back-issue material rather than away.
Sword of Hyperborea is a treat for dedicated Hellboy fans and mythology nerds alike. While it may present some speed bumps for newer readers, it does a convincing job of whetting the appetite for more of what Mignola and team are creating.
Sword of Hyperborea #1
Mythology and Monsters9.5/10
Connection to Hellboy9.0/10
Terrifyingly Beautiful Artwork10.0/10
Accessibility to New Readers6.0/10
- Writers: Mike Mignola, Rob Williams
- Artist: Laurence Campbell
- Colorist: Quinton Winter
- Letterer: Clem Robins
- Publisher: Dark Horse Comics