Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 Beyond the Fences #1 Writer: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson Pencils: Paolo Rivera Colors: Dave Stewart Letters: Clem Robins Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Hellboy creator, Mike Mignola teams up with writer Chris Roberson to bring us a this three issue mini-series. It’s a sequel series to the previous 1952 series which took place during the characters first year on the job.
What’s clever about this plot and setting is that while all the Hellboy stories have elements of the supernatural, they take place within an exotic location that you’d come to expect the supernatural to come about. This story is taking place within the quiet and peaceful American suburbs of the 1950’s, which makes the supernatural standout and catches your eye more then any other Hellboy comic I’ve read. They’re brining the fantastical to the mundane as this team of paranormal investigators look into reports of missing civilians within this small town along with sightings of an unknown creature.
One of the highlights and strengths of this issue is that it gives time to develop and flesh out its characters. Most mini-series lack these elements because they have a limited time to tell the story and are in a rush to get the plot moving forward as opposed to an ongoing series. Mignola and Roberson find a good balance of the two and neither story or character feels rushed or lacking.
In this comic the three protagonists/agents are all identifiable and set up with room to grow within the story. Agent Jacob Steger is a bit of a downer who seems to have a chip on his shoulder to prove his worth. Agent Susan Xiang is unsure of her self and has psychic powers that seems to be growing in strength. It’ll be interesting seeing if she’ll be able to cope with it in the coming issues.
Hellboy himself is a known figure among the community here and there’s an entertaining scene where some children ask him for his autograph. We also get a genuine moment with our main protagonist as he comforts a kid whose dog has gone missing. It’s a well place scene to give the character some complexity and tell its audience to “not judge a book by its cover”.
The art here is solid as well, Paolo Rivera’s pencils and Dave Stewart’s colors give off a feel of the atmosphere wherever the setting is. The suburban neighborhood has a wide eyed innocence tone to them while the forrest during the night is lit and shadowed in all the right places.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.:1053 Beyond the Fences #1 is a promising start to comic book fans favorite paranormal investigator’s latest mini-series. The developed and identifiable characters will grab readers investment and the well directed artwork makes this a must buy for Hellboy fans.
Score: 4 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach