Hellboy comics can be a hell of a lot of fun. Mike Mignola has created characters and a world that balances a rich and complicated universe but also can deliver stories that can be picked up and enjoyed with little knowledge. Mignola has figured out how to balance the ongoing narrative with the one-shot. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957—Family Ties is example of the comic you can just pick up and enjoy. You have to have little knowledge of the characters but if you do, there’s clearly more to this issue.
Written by Mignola and Chris Roberson, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957—Family Ties has Hellboy and Agent Xiang looking for a book that can summon demons. It takes them to a house where unnatural things are occurring or it could be horrible family relations. There’s not a ton you really need to know to enjoy the comic. It’s a pretty typical “fight demons” type of story. Where it works well is the build up and tension.
Mignola and Roberson keep the readers guessing. Who’s the malignant force in the house? Who is going to be the demon they must fight? Where’s the demon they’ll have to fight? It’s all pretty standard but the way it’s presented will leave you not knowing who can be trusted until that’s revealed. There’s also some solid creepy moments. You get a cinematic feel as the horrors are presented. While it doesn’t deliver scares, there’s a general unease created by the imagery that works really well.
That’s due to the art of Laurence Campbell. Joined by Dave Stewart on colors and Clem Robins lettering, the visuals for the comic are excellent. There are some solid moments that really will make readers unease but never grossed out. There’s the type of visuals you’re not expecting so they deliver a slight punch as they’re revealed. But, it’s all done in a way that doesn’t really scare as opposed to make readers “sick”. With the colors and pencils combined, the art has a vibe about it that is more unease and gross than make you not want to turn a page.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957—Family Ties is a solid start to this series of one-shot comics. It has some details that fans of the Hellboy world will enjoy but those who have never read a story can ignore and not miss anything. It’s a solid horror comic for this Halloween season and one fans of Hellboy or the horror genre should check out.
Story: Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson Art: Laurence Campbell
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Clem Robins
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review