Just in time for Halloween, Mike Mignola and gang release another one-shot, set in Hellboy's earliest years in the field as a green paranormal investigator. What better way to spend the season than in foggy, moss-creeped England with everyone's favorite specter puncher?
The one-shot is divided into two parts, set in Hellboy's second year on the B.R.P.D in 1953, visiting one of Professor Bloom's old friends, who has a haunted house he wants them to take a look at. Afterwards, a short story about one of Bloom's earliest brushes with the unnatural.
By now you know the formula, and Mignola could (and might) write these stories in his sleep. However, while it may not blow minds or break ground, there's something wonderfully sleepy about Mignola's short stories, that relaxed evenly paced atmosphere that makes for a soothingly spooky late night read. Both stories feature some little memorable moments, but nothing we'll necessarily be talking about by the end of the year. Still, while every publisher rushes out their shoddily scripted and hastily illustrated Halloween specials, Mignola still represents a bastion of respect for old creaky houses and glowing eyes in the dark that makes this stand above competing titles this week.
Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart are also comfortably relaxed in their roles, crafting some wonderful visuals with expert hands. Arguably, the real strength of the book really nests in the art, lending little moments of visual personality that I remember more vividly than the plot itself.
Great art, simple story. Tip of the hat to Mignola and his crew to not leave us hanging this Halloween season.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953 - The Phantom Hand & The Kelpie Writer: Mike Mignola Artist: Ben Stenbeck Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 10/28/15 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital