Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 TPG Review: Laden With Potential

Some of the best “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.” stories take place during the Cold War. Sadly, this is not the case with “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D 1956” written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson with art by Mike Norton, Yishan Li and Michael Avon Oeming.  

Hellboy is sent to Mexico to find out what’s causing a string of violent events. Meanwhile, Professor Bruttenholm is investigating a plot set forth by the Soviets.

This seems like more of a setup to a much bigger story than an actual story. The entire story was just what’s going on here, who’s this person, what are the Soviets doing and what is Hellboy doing and where is he?

To answer that, he’s getting drunk with a bunch of Luchadores in Mexico. He only appears an average of one panel per issue and it’s always him getting drunk.

Don’t confuse this as a major negative. While the setup to what’s going on is brilliant and the villain is well thought out (a little girl who can make people spontaneously combust) it’s just a setup to the next “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.” story than this one.

The quality of the artwork depends on who drew it. Some look great and the others look mediocre. The closeup shots of the characters are probably the best as well as Xiang’s visions.   

This TPG also features “Hellboy VS Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death” and “Down Mexico Way,” two comics that show off what happened to Hellboy in Mexico. For the full review of these two comics, go here.

There’s also a sketchbook included. Sketches of the comic are always a welcome addition to TPB because it shows the hard work put into making a comic. This is no exception.  

“Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956” has some neat ideas, but overall it feels like a backstory to a bigger comic. The art also depends on the page, but the two “what happened to Hellboy in Mexico?” comics and the sketchbook are pretty neat.

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