So after getting my hands on The Hellboy Board Game from Mantic Games, I’ve been on a bit of a Hellboy hype train. From painting a Hellboy Bust to trying to dig out my old B.P.R.D. collection, nothing is off limits.
As a result, seeing a new Hellboy release this week which seems to be a huge variation from the normal art and writing style (but still featuring established talent) definitely had me curious. So here we are today with Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola, Thomas Sniegoski
Artist: Craig Rousseau
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Matt Smith
Release Date: 17th February 2021
Before we even get to the contents, it’s worth mentioning the wonderful cover by Matt Smith, featuring a strikingly bright colour palette. The cover is a beautiful overemphasis of retro monster cinema, and I am living for it.
The bright colours and joyful tones provide a fantastic diversion from the traditional Dark Horse Hellboy series. The linework and character designs are very similar to other Hellboy series, but with a funhouse filter over it. The energy from the art spills into the narrative, giving the story a sense of childlike joy and wonder. Honestly, with just a slight editorial tweak this could have easily been made a fully children friendly title. Craig Rousseau‘s art partnered with Dave Stewart’s colourings have birthed a truly attractive comic.
This opening issue builds the relationship of Hellboy and his father figure Professor Bruttenholm. Hellboy being far younger perpetuates the expected sense of excitement and curiosity that comes from a title like “The Hidden land”. Following an airborne incident forcing a crash landing, the story shifts from an optimistic trip to a survival mission.
Having a younger Hellboy is a creative opening Mike Mignola and Thomas Sniegoski quickly begin to exploit. A character we have known as a demonic powerhouse for many years now suffers from handicaps like being unable to swim. I am very excited to see how the writing duo explore the less competent Hellboy, and I’m hoping to see the bullheadedness of Hellboy carry through a younger timeline. Will young Hellboy still have the ‘punch my problems’ mentality, or will it be birthed in this story? Writers, you have definitely got my attention.
This 4 issue mini-series has a wide narrative scope. On an island as mysterious as this, practically nothing is out of reach. This opening issue features a handful of uncommon and ill-tempered wildlife, and previous Hellboy lore has had no shortage of demons, mutants and beasts. Will we see anything familiar? Potential new villains? New takes on older villains?
This opener shows that there are few limits for this younger timeline. With Mignola on board anything can happen, and that definitely excites me as a long-term reader. On the flipside, readers need not know much of the history to enjoy this lost world fantasy mini-series. This book defines ‘for all readers’, and you should all be reading it.