Recently Hellboy comics haven’t been as thrilling as they once were. My love of Hellboy as a character and of his universe is what encouraged me to check out this title. However, after reading Hellboy in Hell #8, I was less than enthusiastic about checking out Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 The Phantom Hand and the Keplie. This lack of energy was despite my fondness for Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952 series. Mike Mignola was set to once again writing the first experiences Hellboy had with Bruttenholm in England, though this new series represents his second year. The story enclosed in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1953 promised to contain Hellboy’s first ghost hunt! What could be more exciting?
To add to this, the artwork by Ben Stenbeck and colorist Dave Stewart are some of the best in recent Hellboy work I’ve seen. (The above image is a closer shot of the cover by Mignola, but he sets the stage for the interior with his bold use of contrast.) Ben Stenbeck’s art provides readers with a rendition of Hellboy which felt very real and authentic. Dave Stewart’s color choices were so perfectly chosen that it nearly felt as though he and Stenbeck were one creative entity. The decision to utilize these two great talents and allow Mignola to focus on the storyline was a wise choice on the part of Dark Horse.
With this issue covering Hellboy’s first ghost hunt, I wasn’t sure of what would occur. The description of the book offered some insight as to what the two short stories would feature as far as supernatural beings, but you never really know what to expect from Mignola. As the title suggests Hellboy faces a phantom hand of some kind and a kelpie in two short pieces which are combined into one energetic volume. Something about the way Mignola and company elected to tell the tale was powerful. Although Hellboy has little dialogue in this volume, the way others speak about him says volumes about his character and theirs.
This issue is scheduled for release on October 28th. The second one shot in this series will follow on November 25, 2015 with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 – The Witch Tree & Rawhead and Bloody Bones. You can currently pre-order both through Things From Another World or pick them up on your next comic shop run!