Young Hellboy #1 is a fun, entertaining flashback tale with a1950s serial movie vibe ala Indiana Jones. It’s a roller coaster ride that doesn’t let up and deftly balances a light tone while having the titular character being chased by monsters of all kinds.
Mike Mignola! Tom Sniegoski! Stranded on a strange island after a mishap on their way to a South American dig site, Hellboy and Professor Bruttenholm are confronted by all manner of monsters! But even when the stranger who rescues them turns out to be one of Hellboy’s heroes, they aren’t as safe as they think they are! Join Hellboy creator Mike Mignola as he teams with writer Thomas Sniegoski, artist Craig Rousseau, and colorist Dave Stewart to bring you a tale of Hellboy’s childhood!
Young Hellboy #1 is a hoot. It’s a flashback tale set on an island right off of South America in 1947, with the adorable young Hellboy and his adoptive father Professor Bruttenholm finding themselves in one pickle after another. Plane crash? Just wait: here comes the giant crabs! Then the giant apes, then the dinosaurs, then…
It’s a fun roller coaster ride that’s perfectly paced. The vibe is right there with the Indiana Jones films, The 1999 Mummy remake with Brendan Fraser (I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Hellboy asks Professor Bruttenholm at one point if he ever lit a mummy on fire), Godzilla, King Kong and even Jonny Quest. (Heck, maybe even some Tintin.)
Here, giant monsters abound, but those are just one of Hellboy and Professor Bruttenholm’s problems. They’re being pursued by a tenacious religious fanatic with his eyes set on sending the young Hellboy back to hell. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the mysterious woman in the forest…
First and foremost, the most impressive and effective element of Young Hellboy #1 is the coloring work by Dave Stewart. His choices here make Hellboy pop in every panel he’s in and highlights the action – and there’s a lot of it — with a really satisfying and expressive palette. It’s really great work.
Craig Rousseau’s art is crisp and vivid with a fluid sense of motion. There is almost no down time to the action. The issue kicks into gear right off the bat and starts escalating up the point at the very last page of the end where the story eases up to plant its landing.
Mike Mignola and Tom Sniegoski must be having a blast writing this because it shows. From the subtle “But they was in New York” accent Hellboy speaks in, to the apparently unkillable – and not on purpose – creepy religious fanatic. Seriously, the guy is a goofy hate machine who keeps on surviving one situation after another by pure happenstance. There’s a light tone that permeates the book and lends to its easy flow.
Other than that, that’s it. No underlying concept or grand overarching theme. It’s just a quick, fun ride that grabs the reader right away and says, “Brace yourself.” Challenge accepted.
Young Hellboy #1 is out now from Dark Horse Comics; written by Mike Mignola and Tom Sniegoski; art by Craig Rousseau; colors by Dave Stewart; letters by Clem Robins; standard cover art by Matt Smith; variant cover art by Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart.