Set in WW2, the monsters come out in this second chapter!
Historical buffs will love this new series set in the Hellboy universe, but Hellboy completists will need to read it. That’s because it shows us a young Bruttenholm, the man who took in Hellboy as a baby, and helps us understand why a human would ever think a demon from Hell could be useful.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
A seance reveals that Bruttenholm’s mission may be more than he bargained for when the stakes become more dangerous but the enemy only more mysterious.
Why does this matter?
Writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson have an interesting story here involving Nazis and Rasputin (of course) in a period of time that’s a high-risk time to be alive. There are no superheroes flying about, but the supernatural element is real even if it’s just budding and starting to be understood.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with Rasputin and shows the man beginning to get familiar amongst the Nazi tech. The stakes are very high with this mystical character working for them and it’s incredibly apparent Bruttenholm needs to work faster. Much of this issue is about tracking down information, locations, and next steps to stop the Nazis. There’s a detective vibe going on and it starts with our ability to see Rasputin and what he’s up to and then tracking Bruttenholm as he gets closer to saving the world.
This issue has not one, but two creature-feature moments and it’s fun to see the characters of this period piece wrap their heads around what they’re seeing. Roberson does a good job establishing Bruttenholm’s newness to the supernatural elements, but he’s steadfast and won’t let those things stop him. You get the sense that this character will do whatever it takes to solve a mystery even if it means tussling with a giant pink monster.
Christopher Mitten’s art is quite good, especially when monsters and ghosts show up. In a seance scene, for instance, there are candles in the foreground but drawn simply like orange silhouettes. That creates a cinematic vibe to the scene. The lighting in these scenes is quite good too. There’s an attention to detail that hammers home we are in an older time and place.
He’s a man that knows things.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The pace of this issue is quite slow and it reads like the characters are reiterating the same information over and over. Decompression is definitely hurting the plotting of this issue as it seems to end with Bruttenholm getting bits of info good enough to move on to another big chunk of the mystery when there should be three or more in a single issue. Captions are quite heavy at times too and there’s a lot of talking and not a lot of doing.
Is It Good?
The monster madness and supernatural elements are great, but the pace of this issue (and the series so far) is so slow you’re going to be frustrated before the issue is even over.